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The Dangers of the 'Brainternet'


Companies like Elon Musk's mysterious Neuralink work on connecting human brains—the magnificent blobs of neurons—to the internet, the digital land of Russian cats and racism. But some experts are questioning the ethics and security of the internet of brains.

Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer in the school of electrical and information engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, said that having everybody's brains connected to the internet could pose some issues around privacy and potential hacking.

Pantanowitz, along with two engineering students, successfully streamed human brain waves to the internet on an open-source website using an electroencephalogram (EEG) device hooked up to a portable Raspberry Pi computer. They called it the Brainternet (yes, really).

Pantanowitz said researchers could use the information to study the brain waves of a large and varied amount of subjects at a time. "The idea is that eventually we're going to become more connected to the networks around us and we could eventually become Internet of Things nodes on the network ourselves," he told me. "Information can travel from our brains to the networks, and back from the network into our brains."

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