Elon Musk is not satisfied with electric cars, shooting people into orbit, living on Mars, and building underground tunnels to solve traffic problems. He also wants to enter your brain.
His startup Neuralink hopes to one-day implant computer chips in human brains. The goal is to develop implants that can treat neurological diseases, and within a day may make them powerful enough to enable humans to have possible future superintelligent computers.
Not that it is very close there, In a video demonstration that aimed to recruit new employees, Musk showed off a prototype of the device. It is about the size of a large coin and can be implanted in a human skull.
The ultra-thin wires hanging from the device will directly enter the brain. Early versions of the device will be placed behind the ear like a hearing aid.
However, this start-up company is far from having commercial products, which will involve complex human trials and FDA approval. Friday’s demonstration featured three pigs. One of them is called Gertrude and has a Neuralink implant.
Musk, the founder of the electric vehicle company Tesla Motors and the private space exploration company SpaceX, is outspoken and skeptical about the threat that artificial intelligence may pose to humans one day.
He and like-minded critics believe that the continued growth of artificial intelligence cognitive capabilities may lead to machines that can surpass humans, and humans may not have much in common with humans. Suggested solution? Link computers to our brains so we can keep up.
Musk urged coders, engineers, and especially those with experience in “shipping” (ie creating) products. He said: “You don’t need brain experience.” He added that this is something that can be learned from work.
The direct contact of the brain with electronic products is nothing new. Doctors implant electrodes in the brain to provide stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and chronic pain.
In experiments, implanted sensors enabled paralyzed people to use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In 2016, researchers reported that a man recovered his hand movements with a brain implant.
But Musk’s suggestions don’t stop there. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on the establishment of the company, Neuralink hopes to build on existing medications for a day’s work to improve cognitive function.
Although there are endless applications (games) for brain-computer interfaces, or someone on Twitter asks Musk to summon Tesla, Neuralink hopes to use the device with people with severe spinal cord injury first to help them communicate, type and move. Use their brain waves.
Musk said: “I believe that in the long run, it is possible to restore someone’s body movement. He also famously stated that he wanted to “die on Mars, not impact.”
Neuralink is not the only company dedicated to brain artificial intelligence. Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson sold his previous payment startup Braintree to PayPal for $800 million and founded Kernel in 2016, a company dedicated to “advanced neural interfaces” to treat Diseases and expanded cognition companies.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also interested in this field. In 2019, Facebook acquired CTRL-labs, a startup that develops non-invasive neural interfaces, and merged it into Facebook’s Reality Labs, with the goal of “fundamentally changing the way we interact with devices.”
This may be easier to sell than Neuralink devices, which require the recipient’s consent to implant the device in their brains, which may be done by robotic surgeons. Neuralink did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.