Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, is scheduled to hold an event later this week to update the public on its progress since the presentation last year. Although the agenda is largely speculative, one goal is a live demonstration of neuron activity.
“Will show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th. The matrix in the matrix, “tweeted Musk in late July.
He also shared a few other teasers at the beginning of the year about the early fall announcement. “Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome*,” he wrote in February. “The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year. Just needs to be unequivocally better than Utah Array, which is already in some humans & has severe drawbacks.”
As its name suggests, Neuralink’s technology is very important for the functions of neuronal activities. The long-term aim of the venture to attain human symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI) starts by attaching electrodes around the brain and interpreting its neuronal signals en masse. Collecting large quantities of data from the signals slowly shows Neuralink’s software how the brain uses them to interact with the rest of the body , resulting in a certain amount of repetition and direction in the end. The possibilities seem infinite for such a capacity.
Musk has indicated that Neuralink’s technology could improve some of the health-focused capabilities, especially in individuals who are neurologically disabled. For example, installing a chip that replaces a small portion of the human skull could restore limb function, improve human movement, resolve eye and hearing problems, and help with diseases like Parkinson’s. It is also possible that introducing a Neuralink system into a brain could pave the way to prevent brain disorders such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and strokes.
One of the inventions already revealed by Neuralink is a surgical system for inserting electrodes into the brain. The devices are connected by flexible “threads” ranging between 4 and 6 μm or, around 1/3 of the human hair’s diameter, capable of transmitting large volumes of brain data. The concept was tested on at least 19 different animals with a success rate of about 87 percent according to last year’s presentation by the company. Human trials may be on track for 2020, and that aspect will be part of Friday’s updates.
In 2019, Neuralink released a white paper and currently has four patent applications pending, all of which build on the technical specifics already disclosed.
While the medical possibilities of Neuralink’s work are incredible on their own, Musk’s involvement was prompted by a desire to help humans keep up with AI. “I don’t love the idea of being [a computer’s] house cat, but what’s the solution? I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer,” he half-joked at Code Conference 2016. Hopefully the next presentation would also provide some insight into the strides Neuralink has made in that direction, even though it is still solely hypothetical.
The Neuralink update event is scheduled for August 28th, with a live stream planned.
Reported by Teslarati.
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