It looks like mind-reading and the ability to control objects with our minds is nearing reality, as Elon Musk revealed this week that his new project is taking AI to the next level.
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Neuralink, Elon’s brain-machine interface startup, will be testing on humans in the next year to merge their brain activity with AI and, first and foremost, have the ability to possibly treat brain injuries.
— CNN Business (@CNNBusiness) July 17, 2019
Elon announced at the California Academy of Sciences:
Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interface. This is going to be really important at a civilization-level scale. Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind. With a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface, we can go along for the ride and have the option of merging with AI.
As per Forbes, Elon Musk’s team unveiled an early version of a microchip with hair-thin strands that can be implanted in the brain through a small incision by a robot. This chip would be used to treat brain injuries and diseases that directly affect brain function such as Alzheimer’s.
The device would work by taking a number of “threads” or otherwise just thin wires that contain electrodes and insert into the brain in specific places where they will receive electrical signals from neurons. The chip would then interpret the data and relay that to a pod, worn behind the ear like a hearing aid, that would use Bluetooth to feed that data to a phone or other smart device running the software needed. From the prototype that was shown, the chip has 1,024 electrodes worth of threads which equates to 10 times more data acquisition than currently possible with current medical devices.
Musk hopes to take these implants to be used to first be able to feed data into a smart device, like a phone, and have the brain control that device and then eventually move onto robotic limbs such as hands and arms that will rely on the signals from the chip.
As for how long we’ll have to wait for all this to come into fruition, Elon says:
Unless we have some sort of brain-machine interface that can solve brain ailments of all kinds, whether it’s an accident or congenital, any kind of disorder or a spinal disorder, we can solve that with a chip.
This is something most people don’t understand yet. All of this will occur quite slowly. It’s not like Neuralink will suddenly have neural lace and start taking over people’s brains. It will take a long time, and people will see it coming.
Sending Teslas into space, building underground super highways, selling flamethrowers online, and now a robot that can sow AI-controlling wires into your brain with ultimate precision. Is there anything Elon Musk won’t try?
Honestly the idea of having microchips or any type of technology implanted into our brains always terrified me, but the fact that Elon Musk is behind this has me thinking twice about it. Clearly the motivations are good – he’s first trying to detect brain injuries or conditions like Alzheimer’s which would be a Nobel-prize worthy achievement if he pulls it off.
The question is where does this technology go from there? Are we going to surf the internet using our brains? Is the data from our brains going to be collected and sold to companies? Are our brains going to be scanned for thought crimes? Are they going to turn us into robots who have to obey our masters’ commands? No thanks. But let’s see how it goes.
P.S. There is a video out there which claims to prove we’re already ‘living in a computer simulation‘. Wonder what Elon Musk thinks about that…