Billionaire Elon Musk presented the first animal with one of his neural implants, which he believes will soon be able to be used by humans. According to Musk, the scientists have had the chip developed by his company Neuralink for two months. This small computer would, according to Musk, create an interface between the brain and the computer and help people with paralysis and other problems to communicate or perform certain activities.
The device, which has the ability to stimulate certain areas of the brain, could even treat problems like Parkinson’s disease, or help treat motor neuron problems which Stephen Hawking’s had. However, some critics point out that, as usual, Musk is very optimistic. An optimism that, on the other hand, did not pay him badly, since he is the second richest man in the world from yesterday.
Critics believe that this technology will still need to overcome the essential issue of being able to interpret signals from the complex human brain. Decoding signals, like an intention to move, is not a simple thing and there is no guarantee that the technology will be able to do that soon. Musk also introduced another pig that had the chip and is now no longer healthy. As some people have noted, these are the first two cyberpunk pigs.
What is Nuralink?
Neuralink is a neurotechnological commercial company established by the entrepreneur and investor Elon Musk and others, who are very ambitious to develop implantable brain-computer interfaces. This company was established in 2016 in San Francisco, United States, and was announced publicly a year later.
The name “Neuralink” was acquired from its previous owners in January 2017. For Elon Musk, the company aims, in the short term, to create devices to treat serious brain diseases in humans, which will also be the company’s ultimate goal along with the improvement of human brains.
In 2016, entrepreneur Elon Musk discussed a fictional – scientific concept called “Neural Loop”, which is part of the fictional universe of “The Culture series”, a series of novels by Jonn Banks.
What Does Musk Aspire to Do with Nuralink Chip?
In addition to altruistic intentions, Musk’s project aims to increase the intelligence of the human being, mechanically by stimulating the brain. According to Musk, this aims to combat the danger of artificial intelligence with a human counterweight. Although it may be doubted whether what he speaks is something human, perhaps it is more of a hybrid.
After a long wait, Elon Musk finally revealed to the public the first details about a chip in April 2017 where he expressed that Nuralink will connect the human brain with a computer. This device will be able to read and write human brain activities through electrodes inserted in a small cavity in the skull.
Neuralink Chip and Human Brain
The main idea of this new project is that the device is literally glued to people’s brains. It will be able to perform functions similar to those of a wearable device, such as a smartwatch. In addition, for the various functions of common wearable devices, the interest of the Neuralink company is to provide its customers and users with solutions for neurological conditions.
The company’s scientists and researchers want to help people suffering from brain damages and disabilities. Particularly, people with problems in memorization, hearing or vision loss, memory loss and even with diseases like depression and anxiety, will benefit from this chip. However, for this great achievement, there is a long way to go for humans. Currently, the chip, and all of its experimental functions, is being tested on animals.
During a presentation to announce the new research by Neuralink, Elon Musk showed how Nuralink implanted chips in the pig’s brain which are able to read various brain activities. With this technology, a guinea pig sniffed the floor of a small pen mounted on the stage. The great technological advancement of Elon Musk’s new enterprise Nuralink has received several successes over the past few years. They have gained success from a device with several considerably extensive branches to such a small chip.
In addition, a thousand and twenty-four small electrodes are thick less than a tenth of a hair. These small electrodes are placed in a cavity made in the skull. This new technology, in addition to reading brain activity, are also capable of sending various information to the brain, thus stimulating neurons and inducing reactions to electrical impulses. According to Elon Musk, the implant will not be visible. The result after the surgery would be just a small scar, where it would be covered by the hair. This chip would have a battery for a full day of charging and could be charged easily at night, by induction, in the same way, that people carry an Apple Watch.
Implementation of Nuralink Chip in Human Brain
The surgery to implant the chip in the human brain would be done by a robot, similar to a sewing machine. This robot would be responsible for inserting the small needles in the person’s brain to implement the chip. This entire implantation process could be done in one morning, and the person could leave the hospital in the afternoon. And of course, without the need for general anaesthesia.
The company Neuralink has received the “Breakthrough Device Designation” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But there are some other issues to resolve with safety tests. After the complete approval, Nuralink will start the first trial in the human brain. Still, according to Elon Musk, the Neuralink looks for neuroscientists, engineers, robotics specialists and even professionals who take care of animals throughout the testing process.
And for those who fit the requirements of the great investor and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk and want to apply to help the cause, they can just access the official website of Neuralink.
Elon Musk and Nuralink
Neuralink, which is still in the early stages of its existence, is centred on the goal of creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain. The ultimate goal of helping humans to merge with computer programs and keep up with the advances in artificial intelligence.
This great advancement in human history may improve memory or allow a more direct interface with computing devices. The businessman Elon Musk sees the company Neuralink and OpenAI as related to a single objective. Here’s what he thinks about it,
“OpenAI is a non-profit organization dedicated to minimizing the dangers of artificial intelligence, while Neuralink is working on ways to implant technology in our brains to create mind-computer interfaces. (Source: NBC)