Elon Musk's plans to merge computers with people's brains were on full display yesterday during Musk's presentation updating the public on what brain-computer interface company Neuralink has been up to. Or, as one astute Fin Twit observer put it:
1/ To all the neuroscientists in the world:— TeslaCharts (@TESLAcharts) July 17, 2019
Welcome to $TSLAQ. You’ve just had what’s known as ‘the realization’: @elonmusk wandered into your field of expertise and spewed garbage techno mumbo jumbo. $TSLAQ
The company has so far been able to implant as many as 1,500 electrodes in lab rats and says its first intention for the technology is to do things like help amputees and restore the ability to see, talk and listen. Altruistic goals, no doubt - and all brought to you with the help of the same visionary who can't stop 15 pounds of dirt from collecting under the bumper of his "revolutionary" new electric vehicles.
Musk has previously said that linking our brains to computers will be the only way for the human race to keep up with the progression of artificial intelligence.
Bundles of Neuralink flexible threads are about the quarter of a diameter of a human hair and are implanted using needles to avoid hitting blood vessels on the brain surface. The embedded sensors catch information and send it to receiver "on the surface of the skull," according to Engadget.
We're hoping Musk doesn't plan on contracting the Boring Company to do the implants.
From there, you can literally "Bluetooth information to your skull," according to Musk. The Neuralink pod is worn behind the ear and contains the battery and other hardware.
Musk says that the company’s current "v1" chip is capable of 10,000 electrodes with "read and write capability", which is more than 1,000 times the best deep brain interface currently available for Parkinson’s treatment.
The company also explained why it is embedding sensors directly into the brain, but not in neurons:
Simply, it's the only way to send and receive the information necessary, from "spikes" of activity. A neurosurgeon is also part of the presentation, showing off some videos of the implantation technology, and how its robot can install thousands of wires directly into the brain while avoiding tissue damage and bleeding. Eventually, they'd like to do it without shaving the patient's head, although he acknowledged that the first operations will be more like current deep brain implants.
It was just a couple years ago that we heard about Musk investing in Neuralink. The Neuralink news took center stage yesterday, distracting from other Musk projects that were taking place at the time. We'll just say that we hope the company's Neuralink prototypes do better than SpaceX's Starhopper, which found itself "engulfed in a fireball" shortly after firing one of its engines yesterday.
Your brain on Neuralink pic.twitter.com/7aYjv4nIN1— Quoth the Raven (@QTRResearch) July 17, 2019
You can read Musk's "White Paper" on Neuralink here:
...and, finally, you can watch Musk's full presentation here: