South African-born tech entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has, for the lack of a better term, out-Musked himself when he unveiled Neuralink, one of his secretive startup companies to the world. The plan, to put it in basic terms, is to implant threads into your skull for brain-reading purposes and it will allow you to control tech with your mind, for example, swiping left or right on your phone without lifting a finger.
Before everyone goes around screaming “snake-oil!”, one has to keep in mind that controlling something with your mind is possible already and has been for quite some time. An example, Matthew Nagle, who thanks to a brain-computer interface, was able to control a computer cursor with his mind and even able to play Pong back in 2006.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink plans, therefore, aren’t out of this world and honestly, as someone who has a loved one who is a paraplegic, I want this technology to work. Musk revealed some results of Neuralink, explaining that: “A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain.” and Elon Musk wants human testing to start by the end of next year.
Neuralink also apparently created a robot that embeds flexible threads much thinner than a human hair in the brain so people can control technology with their minds. This is pending FDA approval, however, and personally I wouldn’t want a robot to drill holes in my skull, no matter how tiny they are. These implanted threads will be placed near neurons in your brain and they can apparently pick up and wirelessly transmit signals from those neurons to a computer.
Sounds improbable, but possible, right? Well, here’s where things get a little Musk-ified. Elon Musk explained that:
Further, Musk ultimately wants to achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence and talked about AI, when even in a “benign scenario” the human race would be “left behind”. The ultimate goal here is to create technology that merges humans with AI and Musk added that the goal is to read neural spikes from the brain, explaining that: “we are a brain in a vat, and that vat is our skull.”
Personally, this brain in a vat thinks that if sci-fi films and series have taught us anything, it is that merging AI with humans, or just working with real AI, doesn’t end very well.
The question that comes to mind is if Musk wants to use Neuralink himself to control his SpaceX rockets, using the “free world-wide internet” to blast off to Mars and populate the planet in a one-man mission, all while avoiding the inevitable AI uprising. We will just have to wait to see what the future holds and if the US’s FDA approves Neuralink’s plans in the future.
Whatever the case may be and however far Elon Musk’s Neuralink plans actually go, is still very much up to the imagination at this point. With that being said, as mentioned earlier, I am no expert, so if you want to hear all the details about Neuralink, then check out the video below with Musk’s speech starting at the 1 hour 30 minutes mark.
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