Elon Musk Will Launch Brain-Machine for Paralyzed Humans

Daniel Fowler
July 17, 2019

During a presentation, Musk said that the hope was that Neuralink surgery would be similar to something like LASIK eye surgery. Based on interviews from insiders, MIT Technology Review speculates that the company may be working on a neural "sewing machine" that injects flexible electrodes into a monkey's brain to be able to record from a very large number of neurons at once.

Later, during a question and answer session, he revealed that the device NeuraLink is working on has been tested on monkeys, with the animal able to control a computer with its brain, according to Mr Musk. "This is not a mandatory thing". Brain-control interfaces (BCIs) would streamline the whole process into a "lossless" interaction that's faster and more efficient.

While Musk's visions for the future are at times deemed eccentric, the immediate objective of Neuralink is to help patients suffering from paralysis.

True to form, Musk couldn't help but talk the biggest game possible in his opening presentation, saying the technology is "important on a civilisation-level scale" (you know, because the singularity is coming, and it will be ).

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In September 2018, during Musk's infamous appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast, the CEO told Rogan that Neuralink's long-term goal would be to enable human brains to be "symbiotic with AI", and the company would have "something interesting to announce in a few months, that's at least an order of magnitude better than anything else; probably better than anyone thinks is possible".

Neuralink CEO Musk believes millions of people will eventually elect to become cybernetically enhanced. As Neuralink president's, Max Hodak, pointed out at the event, scientists and doctors have worked for decades on devices or other means of directly interacting with the brain, from cochlear implants to deep brain stimulation treatments for Parkinson's disease. Neuralink has performed the procedure on at least 19 animals and successfully placed the electrodes or "threads" a reported 87 percent of the time.

"If it does start failing, does it fail in a benign way, or in a bad way?" "Elon Musk is unsafe and reckless with human lives". "It obviously makes sense to have accelerated live testing of the electrode in a non-brain situation". This allows a person to send and receive communication with the the brain. But he said achieving that long-term goal would be the best way to head off the threat of an artificial-intelligence apocalypse - a scenario that's been the subject of repeated warnings from Musk. "With a high bandwidth brain-machine interface, we will have the option to go along for the ride".

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