Elon Musk’s neuralink has been making headlines recently, and it looks like the technology could offer a solution to some of humanity’s biggest brain health problems.
A new video from Elon Musk’s Neuralink team shows the technology that allows a monkey to play Pong with its mind.
The news of Neuralink received a lot of attention today, and in response to the article on Ars Technica, Musk tweeted that “this is a tester monkey that is wired up to a cortical interface. No practical use yet. Future neural interface products will likely be far better. For example, imagine a neural lace that goes directly into your brain and has full power over your sensory, motor, and cognition functions.”
The future of brain-computer interfaces looks a lot like a little game of Pong. At a recent press event for his Neuralink startup, Elon Musk’s company showed off a neural lace—a small piece that could be implanted into the brain and help people with Parkinson’s disease control a computer by thinking about the letters on the screen. The future of neural lace may also involve thinking about objects, like a monkey playing Pong or doing other tasks normally relegated to the mind.
During an interview on BBC’s Radio 4, Elon Musk said that the future might see people communicating with machines via their brains. He showed off a prototype of a chip implanted in the brain that sends data to a small computer, but it’s not clear how or even if this technology will be used.
What is Neuralink?
Neuralink, the startup created by Elon Musk, is a brain-computer interface (BCI) that aims to connect human brains with computers. It’s not the first such thing—it’s not even the first by Musk. His previous startup, the Open AI company, has created a neural lace that it’s working on implanting into people’s brains (as the technology is the subject of the HBO documentary called The Defiant Ones). But Neuralink is the first by a vocationally-trained neurosurgeon. A big part of that is developing a technology that lets people communicate with each other via thought. However, as shown in a recent video, the first major step towards that goal is much simpler: monkeys playing games of Pong with their minds.
The Project Innovation
The company’s mission is to build a brain-to-computer interface that allows humans to one day experience a “direct brain-to-brain interface”: a direct neural link between a human brain and a computer. Musk described his ambitions for Neuralink, which will explore mind-to-computer interfaces and create a way for humans to communicate with each other using thought-to-thought communication.
Elon Musk and his Neuralink startup have made a ton of progress toward their goal of connecting the human brain directly to computers. Still, the company will likely need to find new ways to fund the effort after it failed to secure an initial round of funding.
The startup last month announced that it had raised $100 million from investors including Peter Thiel, Sam Altman, and Reid Hoffman. However, according to a report from Bloomberg, the investors — including Peter Thiel — are backing out for “strategic reasons,” including what they see as Musk’s “unclear strategy and his tendency to make unrealistic claims.”
Neuralink, the brain-computer interface company headed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, is leveraging AI and machine learning to create a way for humans to connect directly with computerized brain implants.
Affecting the Industry
Amazon confirmed that it is indeed teaming up with Elon Musk’s Neuralink company. Musk first revealed Neuralink back in June 2017, and the company was founded to help humans communicate with computers and other machines. Musk shared details about the company’s mission, stating, “Our goal is to enable people who have lost their physical abilities, like a spinal cord injury, to regain and even augment their lost capabilities.”
What can you say about it?
It’s always great to see a sci-fi-themed gadget come to fruition. And, while Neuralink isn’t exactly a gadget, it’s still great to see Elon Musk making progress on his quest to connect our brains with the cloud.
We have all seen the talking monkey. But, this time, it’s not an actor on a movie set. It’s very real—and rather big. At the Neuralink press conference on Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled what he’s calling the “neural lace,” which will be used for surgery on humans and is already being tested on animals. But I’m not about to get lost in the weeds of science here. I have other things to talk about–like a talking monkey.