Elon Musk has introduced a technological advancement that gives your thoughts the power to control your smartphone or computer via flexible threads that can be implanted into the brain. Neuralink, a brain electrode firm launched by Musk in 2017, revealed the system at an event in San Francisco giving the world a peek at what could become a merging tool for humans and machines.
Neuralink aims to develop technology that connects brains to computers to help those who are paralysed. Musk informed that the system has been successfully tested on a monkey and the firm has already applied to US regulators to start trials on humans.
The system developed by the Neuralink consists of a tiny probe that contains more than 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads, which are thinner than a human hair. These threads can monitor the activity of 1,000 neurons. According to the firm, the system would be able to target very specific areas of the brain and analyse recordings using machine learning. It would then work out what type of stimulation to give a patient.
Explaining the Neuralink, Musk says, “Neurons represent information in the rate statistics and precise timing of spikes. Our goal is to record from and selectively stimulate as many neurons as possible across diverse brain areas.”
Neuralink mentioned the procedure being surgically safer. It says that at each stage, it aims to produce devices that serve critical unmet medical needs of patients and make it as simple and automated as LASIK.
Merging human brain with the AI
While Neuralink aimed to focus on patients with severe neurological conditions, Elon Musk talks about “symbiosis with artificial intelligence”. His vision of “superhuman cognition” involves merging the human brain with the AI itself.
Musk has been known for suggesting that AI could destroy the human race, and he says that even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind. “With a high bandwidth brain-machine interface, we can go along for the ride and effectively have the option of merging with AI,” he said at the Neuralink presentation.
Elon Musk also says that connecting the brain to an interface would create a new layer of superintelligence in the human brain, something people already have via their phones.
During the question and answer session, Musk revealed that Neuralink system has been successfully tested on monkeys and the animal is able to control a computer with its brain. The firm will be putting together a submission before the US Food and Drug Administration to start human testing.