There have been plenty of movies about connecting human minds to a computer network, or artificial intelligence that achieves consciousness. Some of them are pure fantasy, while many are based on science that is–at least theoretically–plausible. The movie MindGamers is taking that one step farther and working with the scientists at Qusp Neurotechnology and Fathom Events to conduct a first-of-its-kind effort to monitor the activity and state of 1,000 human minds simultaneously connected to a neural network.
The movie is about a group of students that discovers the greatest scientific breakthrough of all time: a wireless neural network, connected via a quantum computer, capable of linking the minds of each and every one of us. They determine that quantum theory can be used to transfer motor-skills from one brain to another, and freely spread this technology, believing it to be a first step towards a new equality and intellectual freedom.
The movie sets out with a simple premise: What if you could suddenly share the mind and skills of a Stephen Hawking, Beyoncé, Usain Bolt or anyone and everyone on the planet? However, some would prefer to use the technology to manipulate and control society rather than benefit everyone.
Science fiction aside, though–where are we at with the actual science? I spoke with Dr. Tim Mullen this week about the science, and about the upcoming MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live event. He is a cognitive and computational neuroscientist, educator, and entrepreneur. As a scientist, his work has focused on developing computational methods for measuring and interpreting brain activity, and interfacing with the brain. He is founding CEO of Qusp Neurotechnologies, pioneering a cloud platform enabling “anytime, anywhere” access to cognitive and physiological states through diverse brain/body sensors. He is also an alumnus of UC Berkeley and UC San Diego’s Institute for Neural Computation, where he received the Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal. Dr. Mullen is involved in various standards, editorial, educational, and advisory activities in the neurotechnology domain.
Terra Mater Films has partnered with Qusp and Fathom Events to host the MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live event on March 28. Qusp Neurotechnologies is responsible for carrying out the design, implementation, and scientific data analysis and visualization of the MindGamers Experiment wherein 1000 brains will be connected to the cloud and their activity analyzed in real-time within the context of a mass neural interface. The experiment and data visualization systems are powered by the NeuroScale™ platform for real-time processing and interpretation of brain/body sensor data, developed at Qusp Neurotechnologies. Dr. Mullen will also be speaking at the event and presenting preliminary experimental results.
We are still miles away from creating an AI with consciousness, or being able to network human minds or interact at the level displayed in MindGamers, but we do have some foundation and the theoretical building blocks to get there. Qusp explains, “The futurist Ray Kurzweil has famously predicted that by 2030 human brains will be directly connected to the cloud–and to each othere–enabling an unprecedented expansion of human capabilities and empowering humans to transcend current constraints in thinking. While fulfillment of this bold vision requires technology that is yet to be developed, some form of this may not be far from realization.”
I am planning to see the movie–it looks like an interesting, and potentially intense scientific thriller. I am even more excited, though, to see how MindGamers event goes, and what Dr. Mullen and Qusp are able to learn from the event that might help us evolve our understanding of the human mind and get us a step closer to making the science fiction in MindGamers a reality.