CHICAGO (CBS) — What if you could make money, or type something, just by thinking about it? It sounds like science fiction, but it might be close to reality.
In as little as five years, super smart people could be walking down the street; men and women who’ve paid to increase their intelligence.
Northwestern University neuroscientist and business professor Dr. Moran Cerf made that prediction, because he’s working on a smart chip for the brain.
“Make it so that it has an internet connection, and goes to Wikipedia, and when I think this particular thought, it gives me the answer,” he said.
Cerf is collaborating with Silicon Valley big wigs he’d rather not name.
Facebook also has been working on building a brain-computer interface, and SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface called Neuralink.
“Everyone is spending a lot of time right now trying to find ways to get things into the brain without drilling a hole in your skull,” Cerf said. “Can you eat something that will actually get to your brain? Can you eat things in parts that will assemble inside your head?”
It sounds mind-blowing. Relationships might be on the line.
“This is no longer a science problem. This is a social problem,” Cerf said.
Cerf worries about creating intelligence gaps in society; on top of existing gender, racial, and financial inequalities.
“They can make money by just thinking about the right investments, and we cannot; so they’re going to get richer, they’re going to get healthier, they’re going to live longer,” he said.
The average IQ of an intelligent monkey is about 70, the average human IQ is around 100, and a genius IQ is generally considered to begin around 140. People with a smart chip in their brain could have an IQ of around 200, so would they even want to interact with the average person?
“Are they going to say, ‘Look at this cute human, Stephen Hawking. He can do differential equations in his mind, just like a little baby with 160 IQ points. Isn’t it amazing? So cute. Now let’s put it back in a cage and give it bananas,’” Cerf said.
Time will tell. Or will our minds?
Approximately 40,000 people in the United States already have smart chips in their heads, but those brain implants are only approved for medical use for now.