Pioneering billionaire Elon Musk has announced plans to connect computers to the human brain using implanted microchips through technology developed by his Neuralink Corp.
What are the details?
Musk unveiled the developments Tuesday during a presentation at his neuro-technology firm, where he detailed how “very tiny microchips” could be implanted by a “sewing machine-like” robot via a 2 millimeter incision into the skull. The procedure would leave a wireless neural device behind, which would connect to a computer for the purpose of treating medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
Neuralink has successfully used the technology on monkeys and hopes to begin testing a prototype on human subjects before the end of next year. The company has received $158 million in funding — $100 million of which came from Musk.
The New York Times reported that the firm hopes to employ the technology “relatively soon” to “help humans with an array of ailments, like helping amputees regain mobility or helping people hear, speak and see.”
However, Musk’s ambitions extend beyond curing medical conditions.
NBC News reported that Musk has repeatedly warned of humanity’s “risk of being left behind by the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence.” While speaking of AI in November, he told podcaster Joe Rogan, “If you can’t beat it, join it.”
Musk echoed that sentiment Tuesday, saying, “With a high-bandwidth brain interface, I think we can have the option of merging with AI.”
According to Business Insider, Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016 for the purpose of creating a “brain-computer interface.” While the prospect of robotic control systems in humans might seem futuristic, a variety of other brain control projects have already been financed by the Pentagon.
Watch Elon Musk’s Neuralink presentation
Musk has built a tech empire and is known for pushing the envelope. In addition to Neuralink, the billionaire has founded PayPal Inc., electric car company Tesla Inc., space flight firm SpaceX, and The Boring Co., which aims to build high-speed underground “hyperloop” transportation systems for commuters.