Scientists Create Monkey Borg, Nothing Can Go Wrong

Scientists Create Monkey Borg, Nothing Can Go Wrong

Scientists at Duke University have connected the brains of three rhesus macaque monkeys, allowing the primates to combine their mental efforts into manipulating virtual objects that they could not affect individually.

Scientists have managed to build a rudimentary "hive-mind" by connecting the brains of several rhesus macaque monkeys. This achievement is exactly as Borg-like as it sounds.

This is the second Star-Trek-esque technology revealed in as many weeks. Bring on the transporter beam!

The monkeys had been previously trained to use brain interfaces to manipulate a three-dimensional, virtual arm on a screen. When three of the animals were linked together, each was given control over two of the three axes of motion. Working together, they were able to effectively control the arm - reaching a for a virtual ball - in a way none of them could do on their own.

Check out the study in more detail here.

Though the monkeys were not directly wired to each other, their brain patterns began to complement each others', becoming far more efficient. When one of the monkeys was distracted by something outside of the test, the other two were able to quickly adapt to its absence, and complete the experiment.

The same scientists had previously wired rat brains together. In experiments, they could prove that sensations delivered to one of the paired rats could be felt by the other.

Lead scientists, Miguel Nicolelis, has previously been a pioneer of brain-machine interfaces that allow amputees to manipulate robotic arms. He hopes his latest experiments will lead to building "organic computers" - a network of living, animal brains working together in a gestalt consciousness.

He is dismissive of comparisons to the Borg, Cybermen, and other sci-fi bogey-men: "We're conditioned by Hollywood and movies to think that everything related to science is dangerous and scary. These scary scenarios crossed my mind, and I'm the one doing the experiments."

See more new technology at The Escapist.

Nicolelis has a point. Technology itself is not evil; the evil is in how it's used. Like any other scientific advancement, this particular achievement could be used either for good or for bad - it just so happens that "hive-mind"-style devices never seem to work out too well in our favorite stories.

"Why do you resist?" echoed Three-of-Four, an unaffiliated researcher. "Lower your shields," he continued, before elaborating on the futility of resistance.

Nicolelis went on to enumerate the possible benefits of the technology - brain rehabilitation, such as after a stroke or injury, for example. He does not believe we will keep ourselves plugged-in, though. He also pointed out that it was unlikely we would ever share complex mental experiences using these interfaces.

"You're not going to share your emotions or personality to a brain-net," he said. "These are not reducible to a digital algorithm. You can't reproduce these individual human attributes."

Three-of-Four was quick to reply that there was really no need for emotions or personality. "Let alone individual human attributes," he said, gesturing air quotes with his tiny wrench fingers. "You will be assimilated," he added.

Source: TheGuardian

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Redlin no like this science. Science... Stahp.

This can't end well... Oh no sir. Monkey-borg... great. Thats all we need.

He is dismissive of comparisons to the Borg, Cybermen, and other sci-fi bogey-men: "We're conditioned by Hollywood and movies to think that everything related to science is dangerous and scary. These scary scenarios crossed my mind, and I'm the one doing the experiments."

Yeah, sensationalising it like this isn't helpful.

C'mon, it's just primates working together. I did that the other week, using the power of verbal communication. Of course, it didn't work very well, because the other primates were less than helpful, but humans have been able to "link brains" by using their mouths and ears (or via the medium of writing) for some time now.

thaluikhain:
Yeah, sensationalising it like this isn't helpful.

C'mon, it's just primates working together. I did that the other week, using the power of verbal communication. Of course, it didn't work very well, because the other primates were less than helpful, but humans have been able to "link brains" by using their mouths and ears (or via the medium of writing) for some time now.

Yeah? Just you wait till they (the monkeys) start using this arm manipulation tech to throw poop. Then you'll be singing a different tune!!! Really though hive mind stuff, while very useful, is very easy to manipulate for nefarious purposes.

Sarge034:
Really though hive mind stuff, while very useful, is very easy to manipulate for nefarious purposes.

Excepting that this isn't what this is. It's 3 monkeys working together. They could have been pulling levers to get the same result, and nobody would have used the word "Borg".

So as it turns out "The Drift" from Pacific rim is actually possible with today's technology... Now all we need is a skyscraper sized humanoid robot and we'll be ready for a Kaiju invasion.

thaluikhain:
Excepting that this isn't what this is. It's 3 monkeys working together. They could have been pulling levers to get the same result, and nobody would have used the word "Borg".

You're over simplifying it. It's 3 monkeys communicating through a computer with their minds. Can we communicate and work together right now as you said before? Yes. Can we do it by directly linking our minds? No. Is this tech inherently "evil"? No, but easily twisted to be.

I'm sorry, but I think it's outright shameful that you guys are writing about a research paper without even linking the paper.

This is the second Star-Trek-esque technology revealed in as many weeks. Bring on the transporter beam!

I've never watched Star Trek but from what the internet has told me don't those rip apart the body and basically make a copy? It wouldn't actually be me coming out one end.

OT: I fully support this kinda stuff if it can actually help people who have suffered some brain injury, just don't let Planet of the Apes happen.

Dalek Caan:
I've never watched Star Trek but from what the internet has told me don't those rip apart the body and basically make a copy? It wouldn't actually be me coming out one end.

This is one of those horrible implications things that I imagine people in universe just try not to think about.

Dalek Caan:

This is the second Star-Trek-esque technology revealed in as many weeks. Bring on the transporter beam!

I've never watched Star Trek but from what the internet has told me don't those rip apart the body and basically make a copy? It wouldn't actually be me coming out one end.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/1

I'm honestly not sure if I should feel uneasy or impressed about this.

I'm impressed. I like that one day humans might be able to do things like this. Imagine what could be accomplished if the world's 5 greatest scientists were able to Voltron their brains?

What I like about this is that one could build much more interactivity into vehicles and other non-organic instruments by allowing interfacing into the brain. We already make tools a natural extension of ourselves anyway, so taking it further should be greatly beneficial.

All I can think about right now is the applications for a ShadowRun/Cyberpunk esq Cyber-Space for these monkeys and rats to go inside of.

And then I'm thinking of the possibility that Humanity will obtain this technology within our lifetimes. I've been quoted, that I don't care if there's a 90% mortality rate on installation. If the deck exists before I'm 60, I'm doing it no later than that age.

If experiences can be sent digitally then this means that experiences could be stored and re-experienced. There are huge commercial applications to this. Could be an entire new form of media too at some point. The brain-machine interface alone is major and as we begin to understand this technology we could eventually have the ability to import general information in addition to augmenting the brain directly to the point where it can query outside of itself without the use of the five senses like we do now.

What's more is that this could lead to full personhood mapping as well as digital storing of a person (thoughts, personality, etc) and could eventually lead to human singularity with machines (hopefully they also figure out how to store data on our hormonal fluctuations which also make us who we are beyond the pure information stored in our minds).

If I were to leave my current field and devote my time to any scientific field at the moment, this would be it. The result could be a permanent end to mortality and human suffering.

Ok cool I'm glad you got it working, now get started on this!

image

Dalek Caan:
I've never watched Star Trek but from what the internet has told me don't those rip apart the body and basically make a copy? It wouldn't actually be me coming out one end.

There are quite a few competing philosophies about this, and it's explored in a variety of short stories and novels. The fantasy novel Kraken, by China Mieville, actually goes the furthest in the direction of "teleportation equals death," and does it wonderfully. Star Trek itself, despite all the transporter accidents sending people back/forwards in time or to alternate dimensions or summoning their evil universe twin, suggested that there was an 'essence' of a person that was actually being moved, not just broken down and copied.

Alleged_Alec:
I'm sorry, but I think it's outright shameful that you guys are writing about a research paper without even linking the paper.

Oof. My mistake here. We always try to link to the studies, when possible, and this time it entirely slipped my mind. The article has been updated.

Lightknight:
If experiences can be sent digitally then this means that experiences could be stored and re-experienced. There are huge commercial applications to this. Could be an entire new form of media too at some point. The brain-machine interface alone is major and as we begin to understand this technology we could eventually have the ability to import general information in addition to augmenting the brain directly to the point where it can query outside of itself without the use of the five senses like we do now.

That's pretty much the premise of the drug in the movie Strange Days. Pay people to wear a rig while they do things, then sell the recordings to people who want to experience them without the risk.

Lightknight:
What's more is that this could lead to full personhood mapping as well as digital storing of a person (thoughts, personality, etc) and could eventually lead to human singularity with machines (hopefully they also figure out how to store data on our hormonal fluctuations which also make us who we are beyond the pure information stored in our minds).

If I were to leave my current field and devote my time to any scientific field at the moment, this would be it. The result could be a permanent end to mortality and human suffering.

Yep, it's pretty awesome in the potential for it. It could be used to improve un-manned exploration of this planet, probably not as useful beyond that though, due to the delay in communication over vast distances. This could lead to the real world application of Riggers from Shadowrun/Cyberpunk fame. It could help develop implants to let amputees control limbs by themselves. And I'm sure tons of other things that I just can't think of right now.

This is freaking awesome.

Great, now I'm going to wake up in a tub and have to go through fifteen hours fighting a zoo-keeper with a cage on his head and a large key ring just to get to Monkey-Ruvik.

I'm pretty sure this exactly how the Quarians fucked up with Geth and got themselves kick off their own planet, someone please explain to the scientist's we don't have a space armada to flee the plant in when they fuck up.

Second no transporter beam ever, at least not for people. That shit only work with values that believe in a soul, in real world when you break apart of consciousness and put it back together, you are effectively killing the original and making a new (identical) individual.

Hmmmm... 'Professor Monkeyborg-For-A-Head'? Hey, it's possible now! Bwa ha ha ha haaa!

Sounds less like borg hive mind, more like drift compatability!

Bring on the Jaegers!

Now make sure not to hook these things up to an external network. This is the first symptom of creating an emergent AI out of using existing, living consciousness. Where is Sarah Connor when we need her?

Happyninja42:

Lightknight:
If experiences can be sent digitally then this means that experiences could be stored and re-experienced. There are huge commercial applications to this. Could be an entire new form of media too at some point. The brain-machine interface alone is major and as we begin to understand this technology we could eventually have the ability to import general information in addition to augmenting the brain directly to the point where it can query outside of itself without the use of the five senses like we do now.

That's pretty much the premise of the drug in the movie Strange Days. Pay people to wear a rig while they do things, then sell the recordings to people who want to experience them without the risk.

Lightknight:
What's more is that this could lead to full personhood mapping as well as digital storing of a person (thoughts, personality, etc) and could eventually lead to human singularity with machines (hopefully they also figure out how to store data on our hormonal fluctuations which also make us who we are beyond the pure information stored in our minds).

If I were to leave my current field and devote my time to any scientific field at the moment, this would be it. The result could be a permanent end to mortality and human suffering.

Yep, it's pretty awesome in the potential for it. It could be used to improve un-manned exploration of this planet, probably not as useful beyond that though, due to the delay in communication over vast distances. This could lead to the real world application of Riggers from Shadowrun/Cyberpunk fame. It could help develop implants to let amputees control limbs by themselves. And I'm sure tons of other things that I just can't think of right now.

This is freaking awesome.

Yes, precisely and to echo your sentiment, "Awesome". *NERDFIVE*

I will point out those that we've already made fantastic progress with mind controlled artificial limbs. So even if this is years away we can still be quite happy that something like the following is already mind controlled:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2879662/Watch-incredible-moment-double-amputee-uses-TWO-mind-controlled-prosthetic-arms-time.html#v-3951237902001

Lightknight:

Yes, precisely and to echo your sentiment, "Awesome". *NERDFIVE*

I will point out those that we've already made fantastic progress with mind controlled artificial limbs. So even if this is years away we can still be quite happy that something like the following is already mind controlled:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2879662/Watch-incredible-moment-double-amputee-uses-TWO-mind-controlled-prosthetic-arms-time.html#v-3951237902001

*returns the nerdfive*

Yeah, I'm familiar with some of the work in the brain/device research they've been working on for amputees, which is awesome. I think what I was trying to say, and didn't clarify well, was that this type of networked process, might help them improve the tech for single person use as well.

Happyninja42:

Lightknight:

Yes, precisely and to echo your sentiment, "Awesome". *NERDFIVE*

I will point out those that we've already made fantastic progress with mind controlled artificial limbs. So even if this is years away we can still be quite happy that something like the following is already mind controlled:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2879662/Watch-incredible-moment-double-amputee-uses-TWO-mind-controlled-prosthetic-arms-time.html#v-3951237902001

*returns the nerdfive*

Yeah, I'm familiar with some of the work in the brain/device research they've been working on for amputees, which is awesome. I think what I was trying to say, and didn't clarify well, was that this type of networked process, might help them improve the tech for single person use as well.

Right now they seem to have the best luck with mapping current existing muscle endings with the robotic limb. This new technology could result in a true mind controlled device.

For example, your body is mind controlled. You mind tells your nerves what to do and they pass the information along. You know that, I know. But my point is that these "mind controlled" prosthetics we currently have work the same way in most cases.

So this technology could take a much more advanced step away from that kind of mind control into true mind control where your brain waves are directing the device rather than your brain telling muscles to twitch which in turn control the hand.

So yeah, long story short, you're right.

We are the Borg, your technological and cuural uniqueness will be added to our own. Resistance is Ook!

SilverStuddedSquirre:
We are the Borg, your technological and cuural uniqueness will be added to our own. Resistance is Ook!

We will add your banana distinctiveness to our own. Your tire swings will be adapted to serve us.

Lightknight:

So this technology could take a much more advanced step away from that kind of mind control into true mind control where your brain waves are directing the device rather than your brain telling muscles to twitch which in turn control the hand.

It is the ultimate form of gaming though isnt it. Mind-controlled virtual reality that directly pulls commands from brain and directly inserts the experience into the brain. no additional devices, motion trackers or any of that shit. play any game in any setting with your mind. im hyped.

 

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