New "brain bluetooth" now in humans • How big is a trillion? • Hack self-fulfilling prophecies

New "brain bluetooth" now in humans • How big is a trillion? • Hack self-fulfilling prophecies
Photo by Daniel Öberg
  1. New "brain bluetooth" now in humans
  2. How big is a trillion?
  3. Hack self-fulfilling prophecies

Thing 1 - New "brain bluetooth" now in humans

4 people in Australia and 1 person in US got a brain implant that enables them to control a computer with their thoughts.

Ok, Z, we've seen these things before, how's this different?

What you've seen before in humans is the Utah array - they drill a hole in your head and stick needles in your brain, then have a bulky device stuck to your head. It's not permanent because the brain grows scar tissue around needles and it stops working. And you can't take it home.

Synchron's stentrode

  • Doesn't require drilling the skull (!)
  • Process is similar to getting a stent and a pacemaker
  • Wireless! (Actually uses Bluetooth)
  • Patients use it at home
Stentrode brain computer interface online in first two human patients (3:30 min)

The upside to this approach is its downside. The electrodes are in the blood vessels so they don't have direct access to neurons. Hence the resolution is limited.

Neuralink is taking a similar approach to the Utah array, but bringing it to 2020s from this technology's beginnings in 1950s. They've tested it with success in animals but are not FDA approved and haven't done any human trials yet.

So stentrode is the state of the art and the best thing you can get implanted as a human.

(source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4, TED Talk)

Thing 2 - How big is a trillion?

Yes, it's a 1 followed by 12 zeros. 1 000 000 000 000

But how do you wrap your mind around that? Well...

  • 1 thousand seconds is ~16 min
  • 1 million seconds is ~12 days
  • 1 billion seconds is ~32 years
  • 1 trillion seconds is 31,688 years

Hard to believe? Here's the math:

1 000 000 000 000 / 60 / 60 / 24 / 365.25
  • Dividing by 60 to get the minutes
  • Dividing by 60 again to get the hours
  • Dividing by 24 to get the days
  • Dividing by 365.25 to get the years (the .25 is for leap years - an additional day every 4 years)

Thing 3 - Hack self-fulfilling prophecies

One of the biggest reasons it gets harder to do new things as you get older is that new things are generally undignified at first (indeed, this is an excellent heuristic for discovering them) and the older you get, the more dignified you're expected to be.

- Paul Graham

Note to self:

Cultivate the "I'm a person who sometimes does undignified things for fun" type of reputation.

Self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful. Use them to your advantage.

If you can't make yourself care less about what people expect from you (or what you expect from you - a lot harder) - make them expect things that let you do what you enjoy doing.

Should I try skateboarding? 🛹 This logic says yes...

Cheers to shower thoughts outside of the shower,