The Passive Voice links to a Wired piece about Elon Musk’s aims to provide us with little computer inserts for our brains.

However creepy this might seem on first acquaintance, it is I think inevitable — if humanity can manage to survive the next fifty years — that some kind of brain-enhancement will take place. The idea of having lots of information in deep storage, freeing our grey matter for the more immediate stuff, just sounds sense. No different in essence than walking around with a pocket dictionary or a calculator. And of course, in a sense slightly more concrete than just metaphorical, many of us already carry such brain extensions around with us in the shape of smart phones.

Here from Massive Science is a piece about putting letters into blind people’s brains. (Link via Passive Voice.) This is reminiscent of those experiments in the opposite direction enabling paralyzed people to move a cursor on their computer by brain waves. There are obviously drawbacks to the technique, but some subjects could accurately name nearly 90 percent of the letters they were shown at a rate of 85 shapes per minute. This is slow compared to most readers, but we tend to read words anyway not individual letters, so comparison is hard. Still compared to zero, it’s very encouraging.

And MIT reports on the development of a confetti-sized chip mimicking the brain’s action. (Link via Technology • Innovation • Publishing.) This might seem the last step in the process — but of course we have to bear in mind (where else?) that we still only have a fairly rudimentary understanding of how the brain actually works: things will only get better as we find out more.

I’ve held forth on this sort of thing quite often (I apologize if it’s too often). See for example  Direct to brain streaming and Brain upload.