Collaborating Authors


For Some Autistic People, ChatGPT Is a Lifeline


Like many autistic people, Madi Young, a consultant in Seattle, has learned to perform the social behaviors and body language that neurotypical people expect. But masking, as it's called, is hard work and can lead to misunderstandings. So Young was pleased to recently find a conversational partner whom they feel more closely mirrors the way they speak: ChatGPT. "It's not getting the mismatch with my body language--it's only getting my words," says Young, who uses the chatbot for therapeutic conversations and as a "brainstorming buddy" or "friend." Young also uses the chatbot to help them in their work with neurodivergent entrepreneurs and creatives on brand and business strategy.

AI Is Unlocking the Human Brain's Secrets

The Atlantic - Technology

If you are willing to lie very still in a giant metal tube for 16 hours and let magnets blast your brain as you listen, rapt, to hit podcasts, a computer just might be able to read your mind. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recently trained an AI model to decipher the gist of a limited range of sentences as individuals listened to them--gesturing toward a near future in which artificial intelligence might give us a deeper understanding of the human mind. The program analyzed fMRI scans of people listening to, or even just recalling, sentences from three shows: Modern Love, The Moth Radio Hour, and The Anthropocene Reviewed. Then, it used that brain-imaging data to reconstruct the content of those sentences. For example, when one subject heard "I don't have my driver's license yet," the program deciphered the person's brain scans and returned "She has not even started to learn to drive yet"--not a word-for-word re-creation, but a close approximation of the idea expressed in the original sentence.

Elon Musk's brain implant firm Neuralink gets approval for human trial

New Scientist

Brain-computer interface company Neuralink announced on 25 May that it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a clinical study in humans. Neuralink made the announcement on Twitter: "We are excited to share that we have received the FDA's approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study." The tweet said that the approval "represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people". The firm also said that the recruitment is not yet open for the trial, and it has yet to give any further details about what the trial will entail. Neuralink was formed in 2016 by Elon Musk and a group of scientists and engineers with the ultimate aim of making devices that interface with the human brain – both reading information from neurons as well as feeding information directly back into the brain.

Swiss researchers use a wireless BCI to help a spinal injury patient walk more naturally


Ever year, more than a million people in North America suffer some form of spinal cord injury (SCI), with an annual cost of more than $7 billion to treat and rehabilitate those patients. The medical community has made incredible gains toward mitigating, if not reversing, the effects of paralysis in the last quarter-century including advances in pharmacology, stem cell technologies, neuromodulation, and external prosthetics. Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord has already shown especially promising results in helping spinal injury patients rehabilitate, improving not just extremity function but spasticity, bladder and blood pressure control as well. Now, in a study published in Nature Tuesday, SCI therapy startup Onward Medical, announced that it has helped improve a formerly-paraplegic man's walking gait through the use of an implanted brain computer interface (BCI) and novel "digital bridge" that spans the gap where the spine was severed. We've been zapping paraplegic patients' spines with low-voltage jolts as part of their physical rehabilitation for years in a process known as Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).

The Download: brain implant removal, and Nvidia's AI payoff

MIT Technology Review

June 2022 Around a year and a half ago, Yann LeCun realized he had it wrong. LeCun, who is chief scientist at Meta's AI lab and a professor at New York University, is one of the most influential AI researchers in the world. He had been trying to give machines a basic grasp of how the world works--a kind of common sense--by training neural networks to predict what was going to happen next in video clips of everyday events. But guessing future frames of a video pixel by pixel was just too complex. Now, after months figuring out what was missing, he has a bold new vision for the next generation of AI, which he thinks will one day give machines the common sense they need to navigate the world.

Elon Musk's Brain Implant Firm Says U.S. Has Approved Human Tests

TIME - Tech

Neuralink Corp., Elon Musk's brain-implant company, said it received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct human clinical trials. "This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people," the company said Thursday in a tweet. The FDA and Neuralink did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Musk's startup is developing a small device that will link the brain to a computer, consisting of electrode-laced wires. Placing the device requires drilling into the skull. The approval "is really a big deal," said Cristin Welle, a former FDA official and an associate professor of neurosurgery and physiology at the University of Colorado.

Elon Musk's Neuralink brain implant firm cleared for human trials

Al Jazeera

United States regulators have given approval for Elon Musk's start-up Neuralink to test its brain implants on people. Neuralink said on Thursday that it received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first human clinical study of implants which are intended to let the brain interface directly with computers. "We are excited to share that we have received the FDA's approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study," Neuralink said in a post on Twitter – which is owned by Musk. Neuralink prototypes, which are the size of a coin, have so far been implanted in the skulls of monkeys, demonstrations by the startup showed. With the help of a surgical robot, a piece of the skull is replaced with a Neuralink disk, and its wispy wires are strategically inserted into the brain, an early demonstration showed.

President Biden and Speaker McCarthy talk while debt ceiling default looms


This week, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the imminent X Date when the United States hits the debt ceiling and could default; the presidential campaign announcements of Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott; and the possibilities of regulating artificial intelligence. Here are some notes and references from this week's show: Ezra Klein for The New York Times: "Liberals Are Persuading Themselves of a Debt Ceiling Plan That Won't Work" John Dickerson for CBS News Prime Time: "Former Google executive speaks out against AI" Emily Conover for Science News Explores: "A new supercomputer just set a world record for speed" Here are this week's chatters: John: Oliver Whang for The New York Times: "A Paralyzed Man Can Walk Naturally Again With Brain and Spine Implants"; Henri Lorach, et al., for Nature: "Walking naturally after spinal cord injury using a brain-spine interface" David: NatureSweet Twilights tomato; join David at a live taping of City Cast DC on Saturday June 3 at 1 p.m., Right Proper Brewing's Brookland production house and tasting room. For this week's Slate Plus bonus segment, David, Emily, and John discuss Harlan Crow's collections and Graeme Wood's article in The Atlantic: "Inside the Garden of Evil." Tickets are on sale now.

From caregiver to carrier: Iowa woman, 27, has a 99% chance of getting her dad's dementia, remains hopeful

FOX News

Alyssa Nash, shown here with her family, inherited the gene mutation for FTD, a rare form of early-onset dementia. Click the link below to learn more about her story. 'I HAVE A FUTURE' – Alyssa Nash, 27, faces likely dementia but maintains a hopeful outlook. SURGICAL SOUNDTRACK – "Lifesaving Radio" helps surgeons get "in the zone." KICKING THE HABIT – The first new quit-smoking drug is getting closer to approval.

Paralyzed man regains this 'simple pleasure' thanks to AI 'digital bridge'

FOX News

Gert-Jan Oskam, paralyzed for 12 years, is able to walk again thanks to the brain-spine "digital bridge" interface developed at France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). A paralyzed man has regained the ability to walk thanks to artificial intelligence-powered implants that re-established communication between the brain and spinal cord, researchers said. "Now I can just do what I want – when I decide to make a step the stimulation will kick in as soon as I think about it," Gert-Jan Oskam said, adding that he now has "freedom that I did not have" and that between the surgeries and therapy, it has been "a long journey to get here." Oskam, a 40-year-old Dutchman, was left paralyzed following a cycling accident 12 years ago. He lost full use of his legs and partial use of his arms due to damage to the spinal cord in his neck.