The Future of Brain-Computer Interfaces

Blockchaining Your Way into a Cloudmind


  • Melanie Swan New School University



The aim of this paper is to explore the development of brain-computer interfacing and cloudminds as possible future scenarios. I describe potential applications such as selling unused brain processing cycles and the blockchaining of personality functions. The possibility of ubiquitous brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that are continuously connected to the Internet suggests interesting options for our future selves. Questions about what it is to be human, the nature of our current existence and interaction with reality, and how things might be different could become more prominent. I examine speculative future scenarios such as digital selves and cloudmind collaborations. Applications could be adopted in tiers of advancing complexity and risk, starting with health tracking, followed by information seeking and entertainment, and finally, self-actualization. By linking brains to the Internet, BCIs could allow individuals to be more highly connectable not just to communications networks but also to other minds, and thus could enable participation in new kinds of collective applications such as a cloudmind. A cloudmind (or crowdmind) is the concept of multiple individual minds (human or machine) joined together to pursue a collaborative goal such as problem solving, idea generation, creative expression, or entertainment. The prospect of cloudminds raises questions about individual versus collective personhood. Some of the necessary conditions for individuals to feel comfortable in joining a cloudmind include privacy, security, reversibility, and retention of personal identity. Blockchain technology might be employed to orchestrate the security, automation, coordination, and credit-assignation requirements of cloudmind collaborations.




How to Cite

The Future of Brain-Computer Interfaces: Blockchaining Your Way into a Cloudmind. (2016). Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies, 26(2), 60-81.