We all got to know him as the beginner of a purely electric car company and one of the main drivers of that industry and then he later ventured to space travel with SpaceX. But on Tuesday, Elon Musk took to the stage at California Academy of Sciences to make a huge announcement and it was not to reveal a new rocket or Tesla model.
Instead, he was unveiling his new interest into a system used for recording the activity of thousands of neurons in the brain. With his usual reckless courage, he, of course, talked about testing this technology with a human brain by as early as next year.
This new tech is the product of Neuralink, a company that Elon founded in 2016 with a goal of creating an implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) and yes, it is as crazy as it sounds.
He stated that the initial goal with this is to enable people with quadriplegia (paralysis) to control a smartphone or computer with just their thoughts. But anyone that knows the entrepreneur knows that he intends to go bigger than that.
His vision also consists of giving humans the ability to “merge” with AI and therefore give them superhuman intelligence. This is what may then seem like an objective that is too hype to be an actual plan for new technology development.
On a more practical note, “the goal is to record from and stimulate [signals called] spikes in neurons” with an order of magnitude more bandwidth than what has been done to date and to have it be safe, Musk said at Tuesday’s event, which was live-streamed.
The system that was unveiled is obviously a long way from becoming what Elon’s vision really is but has been praised for being an impressive technical development.
The company reported some initial results of its neural interface in rats in a white paper it made public, and it is currently doing experiments on monkeys at the University of California, Davis. None of this research has been peer-reviewed.
With the latest news all over of tech implants being tested on humans, it only goes to show you that the future is here faster than we probably expected.