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In my story a computer-brain interface called T-ANGI is as widespread as smartphones are today.

They allow users to "outsource" computation intensive tasks and memory retrieval to data centers, help with pattern recognition and connect to the internet. Most important to the plot, they can act as perception filters (at least for sight and hearing). I can remove, change or add capabilities to keep it minimally invasive but the perception filter and pattern recognition needs to stay.

The T-ANGI (Thalamic ANgiocatheter Guided Implant) goes under the skin at the back of the neck and the electrode connected to the thalamus (although that part may change if needed) travels through the blood vessels (like pacemakers today) as to make it minimally invasive.

EDIT: the perception filter is used to interface wirelessly with sensory augmentations like night vision, extended auditory frequencies or even other stuff such as beaming footage or audio straight to the brain from an external device or for advanced sex toys (that way they don't need any extra surgeries for them) and also to block certain stuff (pain or traumatic stuff comes to mind although that may change). What kicks the plot in motion is when the company that makes the implant tries to implement a copyright filter like what social networks use to remove copyrighted material from perception if accessed illegally (this cause a disgruntled former employee to start hunting down people involved in the project before it can get implemented. Yes, it'll get somewhat dystopian)

Would this work and be possible a world like ours in the early 2030s?

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    $\begingroup$ If it can interact with our memories it needs to be very invasive, memory is stored all over the brain. Ditto for interfering with senses, since the senses enter the brain in different places, smell for instance bypasses the thalamus entirely. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 2, 2022 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ The blood vessels under the skin at the back of the neck do not go anywhere near the brain. (And having a wire travel through the delicate blood vessels of the brain is very very much more invasive than having it travel trough regular tissue. Pacemaker leads travel through big strong veins.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 2, 2022 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ Could you add a sentence or two explaining what the perception filter is doing? $\endgroup$
    – user91641
    Sep 2, 2022 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ @ooak if you pop augmented reality glasses into any search engine I am very sure you'll find plenty of descriptions of what he's talking about there, he's just used less common phrasing for it. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Sep 2, 2022 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore yes. It's AR but straight to the brain instead of relying on our sensory organs. You can also use it as an interface for external devices (maybe the spies can broadcast drone or satellite footage to their visual cortex, or instantaneous translation with comm badges beaming straight to language centers) $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2022 at 18:31

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While you have the science-based tag on this question, the answer is "We don't know."

Doing this would require learning a huge amount about the functioning of the brain. A full understanding of the way we form mental models of the world would seem necessary for the perception filter. A comprehensive insight into the basis of memory storage and retrieval is necessary for "outsourced" memory, and an understanding of thought formation seems required for outsourced processing. It is possible that we will learn these things in the next decade, but it would require at least one transforming insight, and those cannot be predicted. We have been trying to understand the operation of brains for centuries, and have not got very far.

Even given the required breakthroughs, I think it might take decades for this technology to become widely popular. Fitting it involves surgery, and it has deep and complex interaction with your brain. We can't fix damaged brains. If it "grows" into place, malfunctions at that stage are likely to be fatal. Until the process becomes extremely reliable, few people are likely to adopt it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I already improved my question here: $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2022 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/235141/… $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2022 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ "A full understanding of the way we form mental models of the world would seem necessary" Yeah, the main reason I hesitated to try an answer myself, would require some pretty extensive neural mapping both for the 'input' and 'output', there's been some promising work on that (a certain area lights up when you think the word 'fire' (air force weapons control research) and the monkey pong video where they've mapped the motor control sections used for joystick control) .. [continued] $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Sep 6, 2022 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ [continued] .. but aside from being a fraction of what's needed and taking a lot of time just for those little bits I'm not really sure that person to person the same 'maps' apply, if you have to do it for every individual it may not be reasonably 'cost effective?' (for want of better words I'm sure I'll think of later 🙂) .. the alternative approach is to rely at least partially on brain plasticity, you drop the wires and chips in and just let the person 'learn' to use them, that likely will work better (if it works) the younger the recipient is. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Sep 6, 2022 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ The critical path has several huge obstacles, but probably the biggest one is that science still knows very little about the relationship between the brain and the mind. One of the few things we do know is that the brain does not work like a computer. This problem did not stop The Matrix from making a bajillion dollars. Nobody stormed out of the movie theater shouting "that's not how brains work!" $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Oct 5, 2022 at 22:59

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