Currently, neural interface software helps to rehabilitate people who’ve suffered strokes, epilepsy, paralysis and mental health issues.
In July, tech mogul Elon Musk announced that as early as 2020 his company, Neuralink, could apply to start human trials in the US using ultrafine electrodes inserted in the brain to allow people with locked-in syndrome or paralysis to control a computer or phone.
Meanwhile, Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg has expressed interest in ‘telepathic typing’ and the company is supporting research that aims to create an external headset able to transcribe a vocabulary of 1,000 words, at a rate of 100-words per minute, just by thinking.
The Royal Society expert working group says there is a possibility that, in future, ‘people could become telepathic to some degree’ as more sophisticated neural interfaces emerge.
However, the most advanced attempts to send thoughts to date are at the level of AI recognizing simple brain patterns which correspond to pre-trained words or answers.
This prospect, experts say, has potentially huge ramifications.