Former CEO and Founder of Braintree Bryan Johnson announced his $100 million investment in Kernel – a start-up company that aims to build the world’s first brain chip that will enhance human intelligence.
In a statement, Johnson said his $100 million commitment to Kernel is “an effort to enhance human intelligence and reimagine our future.”
“Unlocking our brain is the most significant and consequential opportunity in history –and it’s time sensitive,” Johnson, who is also the Founder and CEO of Kernel, said.
Kernel, with its Chief Science Officer Dr. Theodore Berger, is currently working to create a “memory prosthetic” in the form of a chip that would be implanted in the brain.
The company hopes that this brain chip will form memories in place of failing brain cells. Kernel added that this brain chip could benefit those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, traumatic brain injuries and other neurodegenerative diseases.
In the paper entitled “A Hippocampal Cognitive Prosthesis: Multi-Input, Multi-Output Nonlinear Modeling and VLSI Implementation” published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health, Berger and his associates describe the development of a memory prosthesis that is “designed to restore the ability to form new long-term memories typically lost after damage to the hippocampus.”
Dr. Berger also works as a professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at the Center for Neural Engineering of the University of Southern California.
According to Johnson, the first human studies for this brain chip are scheduled in the coming months.
“Twenty years ago most thought that reading the human genome would be a nearly impossible task without billions of dollars and a huge army of scientists and decades of time. The reality was nine months, $100 million and a small team. I expect the same will happen when we look back in twenty years’ time on Kernel’s efforts,” J. Craig Venter, Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Human Longevity, Inc. said in a statement.
In the article entitled “The combination of human and artificial intelligence will define humanity’s future” published by TechCrunch, Johnson wrote that human intelligence is currently a “landlocked island of intelligence potential.” The Founder and CEO of Kernel added that the single most powerful means to unlock this “island of intelligence potential” is through neuro or memory prosthetics.
“Right now, a lot of people are betting on AI to be one of those utterly transformative technologies. Bryan Johnson has a different idea — that neurotech, the combination of human intelligence augmentation with AI — is going to be the real game changer. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is. I’m betting that he’s right,” Tim O’Reilly, CEO O’Reilly Media, said in a statement.