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Social Work Faculty Uses AI to Fight Substance Abuse in Youth Experiencing Homelessness

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Playing World of Warcraft using signals direct from the brain.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health recently provided an $8-million-plus grant to the University of Pittsburgh to support the development of brain-computer interfaces.


The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) recently received an $8-million+ National Institutes of Health grant to develop brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), which one paralyzed volunteer uses to play videogames by thought.

Pitt's Andrew Schwartz said such applications are straightforward, with movement direction, on-off, and yes-no inputs "strongly represented" in brain activity, making decoding "simple."

Mike Ambinder with game developer Valve envisions noninvasive BCIs incorporated into playtesting to monitor players' response to prerelease games, and later into adaptive gameplay, with game experiences accommodating players' feelings in real time.

However, such technology could bring ethical complications, with Pitt's work demonstrating that invasive BCIs can alter users' brains from artificially generated neuron firings.

Duke University's Nita Farahany said the long-term implications of such alterations are unknown, and she urges the formulation of principles on permissible uses and misuses of neurotechnology, a user bill of rights, and privacy embedded into BCIs.

From The Washington Post
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