Maybe sitting behind a laptop reading Twitter drama and watching Facebook videos isn’t a good enough connection to the virtual world for you? Maybe you want a technology that would literally connect your physical brain to the internet? Well, everyone’s favorite outside of the box thinker, Elon Musk, is trying to make that technology happen with Neuralink.
In case you’re new to this third rock from the sun, Elon Musk is the brains behind Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company (to name a few). Now, Musk has said that his new Neuralink technology will connect people’s brains to the internet as early as next year. Of course, the initial humans to be connected will be “willing subjects.”
“We hope to have this aspirationally in a human patient before the end of next year,” Musk said at a press conference on Tuesday, where he gave updates on the progress of the system. “So this is not far.”Business Insider
Musk founded the Neuralink company and project in 2016 and has already invested US$100 million into the project which is trying to “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” The tech will literally implant a small chip into the brain using very small electrodes that make a connection to your gray matter.
Musk says that the procedure for implanting the chip into the brain is as safe as LASIK eye surgery.
Small chips, roughly 4×4 millimeters in size, would be capable of stimulating neurons — or nerve cells in the human brain that communicate with other cells — using tiny flexible threads of electrodes. Each individual electrode thread would be inserted using a precision robot in a procedure he said would be as safe and painless as LASIK eye surgery.Business Insider
Musk isn’t without his critics who say that Neuralink is pure science fiction and the company’s goals are unrealistic. Musk has always been an outside the box thinker and he probably has more failures than success. But he’s certainly not afraid to have a go at what he thinks could be a possibility. But there are risks to everything.
Philipp Heiler, physician and founder of Neurofeedback Neuroboost, told Business Insider last year that the system comes with risks.
“When doctors open a patient’s skulls to integrate a BCI (brain-computer interface), there are numerous risks, including the risk of brain damage, inflammation, and scarring,” Heiler said. “You have to ask yourself what the advantage is over other interfaces like touchscreens or language assistants like Alexa.”Business Insider
As always, Musk is proposing some interesting tech here. Many people wonder if some of his ideas are actual legit ideas or simply over the top marketing designed to keep the spotlight on him and his companies. Guess we won’t know until the first test subject is studied.
Last Updated on February 3, 2021.