Elon Musk's Neuralink update presentation culminated on Friday when the company unveiled a "pig named Gertrude" that has supposedly had a coin-size computer chip in its brain for two months. Fast forward through a fancy display showing tiny dots and making beeping noises and we think it's clear - this is a chip that is doing - well, stuff.
Neuralink has said that it aims to "implant wireless brain-computer interfaces that include thousands of electrodes in the most complex human organ to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia and spinal cord injuries and ultimately fuse humankind with artificial intelligence," according to Reuters.
Musk continued to tout that line of thinking, stating on Friday: "An implantable device can actually solve these problems."
And to think, it's this simple:
And then, without providing a timeline for when he hopes to achieve these things, he supposedly introduced a demonstration of the chip involving what Musk called "three little pigs". Musk said the company had three pigs, including Gertrude, with two implants each. They were "healthy, happy and indistinguishable from a normal pig," Musk commented. He also said they could "predict a pig's limb movement" during a treadmill run at "high accuracy" using implant data.
Let us guess: when the treadmill started, the pigs used their legs to run forward? And we're not even neurosurgeons!
But Musk didn't want to stop there. It wasn't enough to just tell people that it worked. Musk literally brought in the "Machine that goes bing" to show off the company's findings to the public in a mesmerizing display of - well, something.
Musk narrated: "The beeps you are hearing are real-time signals from the Neuralink in Gertrude's head. This Neuralink connects to neurons that are in her snout. Whenever she shuffles around and touches something with her snout that sends out neural spikes that are detected here."
Here's what the pig demonstration looked like when it happened:
"On the screen you can see each of the neural spikes," he continued. Talking about the safety of the product, he said: "I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn't know. Maybe I do." Or, I could be on drugs. Who knows.
"It's kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires," Musk continued.
Musk swears that the purpose of the event on Friday was for recruiting, not fundraising. So far, Neuralink has raised $158 million; $100 million of which is from Musk himself. We will count down the days until we hear that Neuralink has raised more money and be sure to keep our readers informed of when that happens.
And regardless, not everybody was as convinced of Neuralink's revolutionary accomplishments:
Had to turn it off.— ben k (@Benshooter) August 28, 2020
Anyone who works in neuroscience has a DUTY to loudly call out how absurd, dangerous, and incredibly unethical this is.
If a movie producer treated animals the way musk does, the outcry would be deafening.— Glenn Tongue (@glenntongue) August 29, 2020
Can Neuralink stop Elon's stutter?— Joe Dirt (@joe_dirts) August 28, 2020
Remember, @elonmusk had zero proofs for anything he said last night.— Tess Laqué (@laque_tess) August 29, 2020
He's a dangerous and unethical man.
Scientists and institutions, it's your responsibility to raise your voices against this man. Use your voices to stop people from getting hurt$TSLAQ #Neuralink
Of course it was fake https://t.co/xYzEfg9FQQ— TC (@TESLAcharts) August 29, 2020
i did not spend 5 yrs getting a neuroscience degree to watch this manchild literally brainfuck a pig on stage— shoshana wodinsky (@swodinsky) August 28, 2020
I’m a Musk Vaporware Accelerationist, if we keep pretending to believe in his increasingly-pie-in-the-sky project “launches”, at some point he will literally walk on stage in a set of clothes only smart people can see.— Avery Edison (@aedison) August 29, 2020
But in Musk's defense - have you ever driven one, bro?
But have you even driven one bro? pic.twitter.com/sKQiHrjflf— TC (@TESLAcharts) August 29, 2020