USA - Expanding Human Intelligence

Arno Froese

Bryan Johnson isn’t short of ambition. The founder and CEO of neuroscience company Kernel wants “to expand the bounds of human intelligence.” He is planning to do this with neuroprosthetics; brain augmentations that can improve mental function and treat disorders. Put simply, Kernel hopes to place a chip in your brain.

It isn’t clear yet exactly how this will work. There’s a lot of excited talk about the possibilities of the technology, but—publicly, at least—Kernel’s output at the moment is an idea. A big idea.

“My hope is that within 15 years we can build sufficiently powerful tools to interface with our brains,” Johnson says. “Can I increase my rate of learning, scope of imagination, and ability to love? Can I understand what it’s like to live in a 10-dimensional reality? Can we ameliorate or cure neurological disease and dysfunction?”

The shape that this technology will take is still unknown. Johnson uses the term “brain chip,” but the developments taking place in neuroprosthesis are working towards less invasive procedures than opening up your skull and cramming a bit of hardware in; injectable sensors are one possibility.

It may sound far-fetched, but Johnson has a track record of getting things done. Within his first semester at university, he’d set up a profitable business selling mobile phones to fellow students. By age 30, he’d founded online payment company Braintree, which he sold six years later to PayPal for $800m. He used $100m of the proceeds to create Kernel in 2016—it now employs more than 30 people.

But Johnson, 40, says he is about more than money. He was raised as a Mormon in Utah and it was while carrying out two years of missionary work in Ecuador that he was struck by what he describes as an “overwhelming desire to improve the lives of others.”

His subsequent decision to leave the faith only added to this sense of purpose. “For the first time in my life, I had to sit with the notion that the closest I’d ever come to my previous vision of heaven is whatever we can build here on Earth while I’m alive,” he explains.

He explains that, while trying to work out what to do next after selling Braintree, he hosted a series of 12 dinner parties with the brightest people he knew.

“I would begin each gathering with a question,” he recalls. “What do we need to focus on today to create a world that you would love to live in by 2050?

“With minor variations, I heard the same answers nearly every time: climate science, education, healthcare, AI, governance, and security. Not once, though, did a single person—out of the hundreds who attended—mention improving the brain itself.

“And yet, the brain is everything we are, everything we do, and everything we aspire to be. It seemed obvious to me that the brain is both the most consequential variable in the world and also our biggest blind spot as a species. I decided that if the root problems of humanity begin in the human mind, let’s change our minds.”

-www.theguardian.com, 14 December 2017

Arno's commentary

Mr. Johnson has left out one important building element of man: the spirit-soul. We consist of spirit, soul, and body. While our body is subject to sin and is destined to decay, our soul is not equal to the brain, but is the undefinable part of the human nature that deals with things here and now on earth, while the spirit is directed literally out of this world. A person born-again of the Spirit of God targets his entire being Godward, heavenlyward; subsequently, toward eternal things. How far Brian Johnson, and with him thousands of brilliant people, will go is subject to time, but in the end there is only one way or the other, and that in plain words is heaven or hell.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety