The Future of Humans and Robots

Presently, Neuralink is developing brain-computer interfaces, and judging by the CEO’s role at the company, the platform is striving to enable machines and human to work as one, despite his recent statements.

Furthermore, Neuralink officials have reiterated multiple times that machines will replace the manual worker, and it’s a warning that will cause many to worry about the progression of cutting-edge technologies. The platform suggests that humans must physically merge with robotic advancements or become obsolete.

The fate of humanity:

The deceased co-founder of Neuralink, Max Hodak has predicted a creepy clichéd story on the fate of human beings. He implied that robots will occupy space and will leave the human race behind. The keystone to his argument suggests that robots probably won’t cling to humanity’s political and economic models for a community.

The former co-founder believed that the ‘value systems’ that humans have used for structuring societies for decades, might become irrelevant in the coming years. He further expressed his belief about the flexibility of machines and how well-organized they are.

From the beginning, Max Hodak was cautious about the arrival of robots and how dramatically they’ll reshape the world. However, there is extensive reluctance to even identify it as a tangible issue, making it harder to seek for potential solutions to prevent potential adverse impacts.

In the late 1990s, researchers began placing instructions within the brains of paralyzed computer cursors to let them display the movements of robot arms through signals. Also, it analyzed how mice with visual impairment could perceive infrared rays. Relying on these experiments, Neuralink hopes to progress the development of a brain-computer interference to the point that every individual could operate computers with brain signals efficiently.

Mankind’s progression in robotics will permit us to proceed with efficient ways to identify future obstacles, but, according to Max Hodak, this kind of transformation requires an entire generation. However, if there ever becomes a situation where a human’s input becomes unnecessary, machines can effortlessly proceed without it, and it would ultimately lead to our termination from the technological world.

Covid-19 Origin Examined

According to CNN reports, China is preparing to run tests on tons of blood samples collected and stored in Wuhan to uncover the origins of Covid-19 in the following weeks.

Wuhan is located in central China’s Hubei province and is considered as the source of the global pandemic. During the initial stages of the pandemic, researchers suggested obtaining blood samples from the urban residents so they might help examiners discern how the pandemic started.

In a report by the World Health Organization, a foreign team of investigators visited Wuhan to probe if the collected blood samples contained antibodies to the virus or not. If stored correctly, the samples could contain significant signs of the first antibodies produced by humans against the disease.

Escalation of Covid-19 in Wuhan:

Chinese officials confirmed the spread of the virus in Wuhan in 2019. Unfortunately, China has been criticized for not revealing enough information or being sufficiently transparent as researchers have been working to comprehend the virus’s origin.

Chinese executives have kept more than 200,000 samples at the Wuhan Blood Centre in case the blood samples are required as evidence against any lawsuits. Some of these samples, which were collected at the beginning of covid-19, have to be reserved for two years as per the Chinese regulations.

In an interview with CNN, a senior fellow for global health, Yanzhong Huang stated that it provides the closest insights to the appearance of the covid-19 pandemic and helps us easily acknowledge the timings of an outbreak.

Assumptions by experts:

Previously, the World Health Organization announced the investigation into the spread of Covid-19 in China, given that its origin remains unconfirmed. Some researchers and politicians from the USA have already blamed China for concealing the causes and studies of the outbreak, claiming that the virus has leaked from a science lab in Wuhan.

Numerous scientists concluded that probably the pandemic escalated through an insect-like animal, or possibly a bat that might have passed the virus onto an intermediary host that infected human beings, possibly at a wild creature farm in Southern China.

Several WHO officials who formerly visited China stated that Chinese executives refuse to provide any confidential information that might have helped determine the source of Covid-19.

Are Chinese pandemic reports trustworthy?

If researchers are fortunate, the blood samples might emerge with antibodies against the Covid-19, which might serve as a proxy for the appearance of a pandemic. However, with the increasing unreliability, the question is whether Chinese officials will conduct the research with their standard of secrecy or if the transparent reports will make it to the external world.

Nipah virus outbreak in India

The deadliest situation has arrived in Kerela, India after the outbreak of the extremely severe Nipah virus took the life of a twelve-year-old boy. After the diagnosis of brain swelling, the boy had been admitted to a private hospital. While figuring out how to treat this infectious Nipah virus is pretty much a work in progress, there have been significant advances.

Nonetheless, the Nipah virus remains a matter of concern not only in India but for the rest of the world as well. WHO classifies it as a “virus of concern” for future pandemics because it can be easily transmitted to a healthy person from the infected one, especially through the contaminated food.

Nipah Virus Vs Corona Virus:

According to a CBS news reports, Nipah is considered to be one of the most poisonous viruses to ever infect humans. Previously, the virus has killed more than 18 individuals who were infected. The disease is far less contagious than the Covid-19 pandemic which is still infecting thousands of people daily, although the availability of vaccines has reduced the impact of this virus. However, there’s still a possibility of neurological symptoms among the survivors.

However, the Nipah infection does not spread as quickly as Coronavirus does, mainly because of the short amount of time from infection to death.

Aftermath precautions:

Following the boy’s death, public health authorities swung into action by connecting with the boy’s family, friends, and doctors. They identified and isolated at least 188 people who interacted with the boy physically. Additionally, they sealed off the entire area within about three miles from the boy’s residence in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

As a consequence of this inspection, the healthcare assistants who treated the boy have shown the symptoms of the Nipah virus, and both of them have been hospitalized.

Besides Coronavirus, Nipah infection has been listed as a priority because of its great spreading potential. After the USA, India has the second-highest progressive covid-19 case count in the world.

Predictions about the virus:

In September 2020, the Chief Medical Advisor of the White House warned the public about the impending doom of the outbreaks of viruses, including Nipah and Corona. He evaluates that these viruses will enter the world of humanity and will only grow increasingly common.

Sociologically, the Nipah virus constantly appears in Southeast Asia. It is because the continuing environmental destruction has destroyed the wildlife and made the animals, including all the bat species to remain in closer proximity to human societies than ever before. To avoid this reunion, the Kerala officials are warning all the citizens to eschew bats and to trash any food that shows signs of insects taking a nibble.

In the long run, additional research will be completed on the Nipah virus and the development of effective treatments.

Radioactive Hybrid Pigs

A little over a decade after the horrifying 2011 Tsunami which led to the meltdown of a reactor at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Japanese scientists have found a hybrid wild boar species in the radioactively dangerous zone of Fukushima.

This discovery suggests that the flora and the fauna of the region has thrived ever since the eviction of humans, allowing them to reclaim their space and adapt to life in a new environment. The hybrid pigs are a proof of the thriving fauna.

Scientists believe that the livestock that people were forced to abandoned at their homes during the 2011 evacuation have started breeding with the local wild boar to create these new hybrids.

A study by PhD students at the Fukushima University revealed that a large population of the wild boar in Fukushima had a European domesticated pig DNA variation. These wild boar-pig hybrids were first discovered in 2015, and since then their frequency has remained stable.

The study which was carried out by Donovan Anderson, a PhD student at the Fukushima University with other colleagues, included them studying samples of 243 different types of boars, pigs & hybrids. Of the sample studied, 16% were hybrid suggesting that the local population of wild boar bred with the abandoned domesticated pigs. The study also revealed that over 75% of the hybrid boar population was discovered within the initial 20km radius of the radioactive-eviction zone.

Donovan Andersen, the co-author of the study also suggests that that the hybrid boars are less likely to remain hybrids in the longer term since they had only 8% of pig’s DNA, further indicating that the domesticated pigs had poor adaptive capabilities and survival characteristics in the wild

“We do not expect these adaption changes in boar, likely caused from the absence of people, to maintain in populations especially as [human] disturbance returns,” Anderson said.

What Happened in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster?

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake measuring 9.0 Magnitude struck with its epicenter near Japan’s largest island Honshu. Less than 1 hour after the earthquake, Tsunami waves as high as 15 meters hit the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, flooding the basements, and shutting down the diesel generators. The reactors 4, 5 and 6 were already shut down for scheduled maintenance when the earthquake hit, however, reactors 1, 2 and 3 were operating at the time.

When the flooding water disabled the diesel generators for all except the 6th unit. First level emergency was announced, and the state machinery was immediately put to work in order to avoid the meltdown of reactors and devise alternate cooling mechanisms. However, reactors 1, 2 and 3 went through meltdowns followed by hydrogen explosions, making the region extremely hazardous and inhabitable, forcing over 160,000 people out of their homes. 

As human life now readies to return to Fukushima, authorities continue to hunt down wild boars in the area that may still be radioactive and pose a threat to the human population.

Covid-19 Eliminates two flu strains

During the covid-19 pandemic, some scientists encouraged preventive measures against the coronavirus include wearing a mask, hand sanitizing, and social distancing, which could also have resulted or contributed to the elimination of multiple strains of flu.

According to Gizmodo, the researchers couldn’t discover two former usual strains of flu since March 2020. More precisely, the missing strains include the Yamagata strain of influenza B virus and the strain of influenza A virus H3N2.

Comparison of two viruses:

Amazingly, these two types of viruses haven’t shown up for more than a year anywhere in the world. Researchers are unaware if these viruses are truly eliminated, but at present they’re nowhere to found.

To evaluate which flu strains might have vanished, we have to understand how viruses are classified. Ever since the breakout, covid-19 has been compared to influenza because they similarly cause respiratory disease, yet there are apparent differences between these viruses and how they spread. Fortunately, there’s an availability of vaccines and antivirals for the treatment of influenza.

Eliminations of the flu strains:

The elimination of these flu strains is a beneficial effect during the pandemic. According to Gizmodo, many researchers and doctors are playing their valuable part in encouraging the usage of face-masks, social distancing, and quarantine. However, virologist Florian Krammer suggests that although the strains might not have been detected for over a year, we can’t be sure that they have been eliminated entirely. So, the viruses might be residing anywhere in our surroundings.

Even if the strains haven’t been fully eliminated their disappearance still makes the preparation of vaccines easier. Every year researchers are assigned the responsibility to make ‘high-tech guesses’ about which flu strains are more likely to prevail in the following months so that they can prepare preventive doses beforehand.

But, Krammer believes that less diversity among the flu viruses could be a possibility. Reduced flu virus diversity means a tiny pool of circulating viruses to choose from and a greater chance that the strains in an annual vaccine will be successful.

If the current covid-19 preventive measures are keeping us safe from other viruses as well, we might consider face masks, and social distancing even after the pandemic is over, particularly during the winter months when the flu virus is more prevalent.

Mind Control

Remember all the sci-fi movies we watched where our protagonist clad in a smart space-suit would try to control the devices around him with his mind and we were left amazed? Well, in Elon Musk’s world of rapidly-growing technology, it is turning into a real possibility.

The co-founder of Neuralink and the latest mastermind behind every technology, Elon Musk said that his brain interface company will begin its launch with the product that will let users operate the “smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs”. This is especially revolutionary for people with paralysis who will now find it extremely easy to access technology.

Providing a sneak-peak into this plan after the tweets, Neuralink also released a video of a nine-year-old macaque named Pager engaged in a competitive game of Pong using two Neuralink units that were put in its brain six weeks ago.

This revelation could help people with paralysis use the implanted devices to feel more in control of their day-to-day activities and comes as a huge breakthrough.

The device has also opened up discussions around the technology for the visually impaired and Elon Musk says he is not ignorant to those issues either. A fan inquired about their plan for such a device and Musk promptly responded on Twitter saying, “Absolutely doable. Possibly as soon as Neuralink device version 2, highly likely by version 3.”

While it may be some time before Neuralink comes up with the mechanics of sending signals to different parts of a human body, these steps are ensuring steady and rapid growth to make the world a bit smarter every day.

But, how will the device work and what are the ramifications of having it in your brain? However, Musk pointed out that the device will be barely noticeable. “The device is implanted flush with the skull and charges wirelessly, so you look and feel totally normal.”

Right now, we do not have a date for when the tech would be available for public use because, considering the technicalities involved, the health and tech experts would have to work together to see if there are any challenges during the trial period that could potentially put the users at risk.

Even the critics of Elon Musk have praised this initiative and regarded it as an essential step in assisting people with disabilities so that they are also included in all the programs for growth and development in the sector. These plans serve as a long-term investment as they hint towards more meaningful goals for the future of human kind rather than prioritizing the fastest car in the world or finding life beyond Earth, the kind of projects that hold little or no practical value in the life of an average human being.