The tech titan Elon Musk has been testing Neuralink, his new neuroscience venture, on himself and his employees, according to a new Bloomberg report.
Neuralink recently began using minuscule electrodes to read brain activity from the surface of Musk’s skull, which could revolutionize the human-computer interface in the future. In an interview with Bloomberg, Musk claims that it’s not out of the question that he will use Neuralink technology to link his brain directly to his Tesla so that he can control it with his mind.
What is Neuralink?
Musk founded Neuralink in 2016 to merge humans with machines. The company has plans to make neural lace, a brain-computer interface that has been described as a sort of mesh that can be implanted into your brain. This process could theoretically give people unlimited cognitive capacity. Specifically, these interfaces will allow humans to keep up with advancements in artificial intelligence and become better at things like image recognition and language processing. Elon Musk wants us all to be cyborgs by connecting our brains directly to computers. He’s serious about it, too — he’s investing his own money in it and says it could happen within just four years. In fact, his new startup will start testing its neural lace technology on human volunteers as soon as next year. How will we get there? Well, first off, let’s talk about what exactly neural lace is: It’s essentially a bunch of tiny electrodes encased in an incredibly thin (think one-hundredth of a human hair) sheath made from nitinol (aka spring steel). Once implanted into your head via surgery, it expands slightly to anchor itself onto nearby neurons and snuggles right up against your grey matter. Then you train yourself how to use them via something called targeted muscle reinnervation.
How does it work?
Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company Neuralink has been shrouded in mystery since its inception, but now we know how it will work. Neural lace will be a mesh that allows humans to merge with AI software. Implanted by surgery, it could let us keep up with ever-faster computers while enhancing our brains and bodies. So says Elon Musk—who recently filed patents for a neural lace design—in an interview published Tuesday in Wait But Why. He goes into detail about what he sees as three phases of computing: Where we are now (phase 1): CPUs for short-term tasks and hard drives for long-term storage. Brain-computer interfaces haven’t arrived yet. VCR/DVR phase (phase 2): Neurons perform better than CPUs at some types of processing, so we rely on them instead when possible. Computers still perform very fast mathematical calculations because they can use both neurons and CPUs at once.
The plan for now
Until a major breakthrough, it’s all still in theory. But with Elon Musk’s newest venture, Neuralink, we might be one step closer to finally merging man and machine.
What started as just an idea by futurist-turned-entrepreneur Elon Musk has quickly become a reality. The company – comprised of leading AI researchers from various universities around the world – has set its sights set on allowing humans to keep up with robots. In other words, they want to create technology that allows our brains and computers (or basically anything with a chip) to communicate seamlessly. While companies like Apple are competing against each other to see who can develop better AR glasses first, Neuralink aims higher: How do we connect our minds directly with computers? With 100 billion neurons in our heads alone, one thing’s for sure: It won’t be easy.
Why do we need to combine AI with human biology?
There are a couple of reasons, but one of them stands out above all others: human communication is too slow. When I speak to someone and have a question, that person needs to respond in natural time. The problem with AI today, though, is that it takes much longer than real-time human responses because there’s so much computation involved. If we ever want AI to be truly useful for us in our everyday lives—and not just as tools—they need to communicate at or close to human speeds and that’s exactly what Neuralink has set out to do. In theory, by connecting our brains to computers, humans will eventually reach an entirely new plateau of understanding and thinking speed. Let me put it another way: once we link brains together through technology (via implants) and find ways to upload thoughts from brain to brain (similar technologies), then everything changes. We’ll essentially become superhuman beings whose sole purpose will be exploring planets beyond earth. In other words, Elon is saying that by combining AI with biology, humanity can go to Mars… faster! Isn’t that incredible? That’s why he founded SpaceX! We’d all better hop aboard before NASA can figure out what’s going on here… they’re getting left behind big time… lol…
Is Elon really going under the knife?: According to CNBC, yes he really will! But not any time soon… it could be a while before we see any real-world benefits from his work. And speaking of benefits: what can we actually expect? I’ve done a lot of research into neural interfaces and I think that’s all we’ll ever need. If you’re wondering what they are, just think implants in your brain. Implants that link your brain with technology. Pretty cool right? Well, if you don’t believe me, then go read some books or watch some lectures on transhumanism and you’ll quickly realize that Elon isn’t just off in la-la land like everyone thinks.
Why this isn’t science fiction anymore
In a recent interview with Wait But Why, Elon Musk stated that he expects to begin testing neural link technology in humans within roughly one or two years.
He elaborated further on his website by noting that the first use of [Neuralink] will be to repair brain injuries as a result of stroke or cutting out a cancer lesion and then ultimately enhance thinking. By linking human brains directly to computers, we can begin to unlock their full potential. Imagine learning ten times faster than you ever have before, unlocking all sorts of insights that you never had access to before, or being able to remember any moment from your life with perfect clarity. It may sound like science fiction today, but it’s not tomorrow—it’s today. This is real; it’s happening right now; there are people working on ways to make us healthier, happier, and more productive; there are folks at Tesla looking forward to putting into production cars that drive themselves; there are people across Silicon Valley developing devices for mental health care (including an app designed specifically for soldiers suffering from PTSD), and there are scientists working day-in-and-day-out at organizations such as NASA who are trying to put us back on Mars.
The future of transhumanism
Despite all of his flaws, Elon Musk still stands as one of our only hopes for a thriving future. This isn’t an exaggeration; if we want to advance humanity and transcend our current physical limitations, it’s going to take someone with both an expansive vision and relentless determination to make it happen.
Not long ago, he called transhumanism an inevitable outcome of technology—and now he might finally be ready to prove himself right. According to reports from various sources, Musk has started testing new neural lace technologies in humans at his own Neuralink startup. At first glance, that doesn’t sound like particularly newsworthy information…but digging deeper into what testing means suggests that Musk may not be just thinking big anymore. He may actually be acting big. The idea behind Neuralink is simple: develop advanced brain-computer interfaces that let us communicate directly with computers (and each other). If you’ve ever used Alexa or Siri, you already have some idea of how powerful BCIs can be when they’re implemented properly – but those systems are still relatively basic compared to what Musk has in mind. What makes BCIs so exciting is that they could potentially grant us full access to our memory banks while simultaneously unlocking vast amounts of computing power…all while existing seamlessly within our existing biology and environment. But there’s one major problem here, and it’s a logistical nightmare that’s kept scientists busy for decades: to create such cutting-edge tech requires equally cutting-edge methods of interfacing with our brain cells. Fortunately, recent breakthroughs in neuroscience have made all of these goals seem tantalizingly feasible…if ambitious. It remains to be seen whether or not Musk will ultimately succeed in his goals, but being able to say we told you so would probably go a long way towards encouraging investors toward providing funding towards Neuralink development – especially since BCI research was largely unfunded until recently. With such an incredibly high barrier to entry looming overhead though, how will SpaceX stay afloat? As many experts noted early on, brains are basically very complex computers themselves.
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