Elon Musk’s neurotech company, Neuralink, is developing ‘ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.’ He envisions a future where the Neuralink brain-chip can solve many brain-related problems, including curing memory loss, restoring hearing and eyesight, and also allowing paralyzed individuals to control artificial limbs (prosthetics) using their own thoughts.
Not only does the company strive to help better the human condition in a health context, Musk stretches the boundaries of what a brain-machine interface might possibly do – he eventually aims at linking the human brain to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Every day technology advances; AI systems become more accurate. Musk says Neuralink may incorporate a third layer of digital super intelligence inside the human brain to prevent a possible future scenario where AI robots ‘slave’ the human race. A “human-AI symbiote” would help “democratize” AI, and that “we don’t have to worry about some evil dictator AI because we are the AI collectively,” Musk says. Neuralink seeks to establish human interaction with AI “to minimize the existential risk for humanity and consciousness as we know it” before the “singularity” event.
Neuralink “would solve a lot of brain/spine injuries and is ultimately essential for AI symbiosis,” Musk said. The company is initially focused on developing a device that will help those with quadriplegia control prosthetics, phones, or computers with their mind. While it’s unclear whether human trials have already started, Musk said last year “a monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain.”
The company will demonstrate a “working Neuralink device” during a live broadcast on Friday, August 28 at 3:00 p.m. PDT. Musk shared they will also show live-neural activity of a brain, “Will show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th. The matrix in the matrix,” he said. The presentation is expected to reveal new details of the brain-machine technology advancements and offer more insight into the device’s capabilities.
The Neuralink brain-chip, named ‘N1’ is a very small 4 by 4-millimeter square; it has 1,024 incredibly thin threads of electrodes, thinner than a human hair. These are used to activate neurons within a brain. Both of them will be threaded to the brain with a machine’s precision. The chips will also be wired to an inductive coil which connects to a battery behind one ear to power the device according to a company’s 2019 presentation. Neuralink device’s final version can be accessible wirelessly, through a Bluetooth connection. Enabling the user to monitor their brain with every computerized system.
Recently, Musk said the company is looking to hire new engineers to help develop certain aspects of the Neuralink device, such as “signal processing” and “inductive charging,” which suggests the company is already working on wireless methods. It is expected that Friday’s presentation will include more up-to-date information about this fascinating technology, and will announce when the first clinical trials will begin – or whether they have already begun.
Reported by Tesmanian.
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