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Why Elon Musk wants to hook your brain up to a computer

SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake

Why Elon Musk wants to hook your brain up to a computer

Elon Musk's start-up Neuralink is aiming to connect the human brain with a machine interface "before the end of next year", the CEO has announced.

Why Elon Musk wants to hook your brain up to a computer

Elon Musk has taken his desire to push the envelope in advanced technology to the next level with a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that blurs the line between human and machine. He is proposing that flexible “threads” that can be implanted into a human brain and could one day allow you to control your smartphone or computer with just your thoughts.

Elon Musk said that his startup Neuralink, which aims to build a scalable implant to connect human brains with computers, has already implanted chips in rats and plans to test its brain-machine interface in humans within two years, with a long-term goal of people “merging with AI.”

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco, Musk presented ‘version one’ of his neuron-sized threads and microprocessor chips that he claims will help people with severe brain injuries, and eventually grow to allow humans to connect with advancing AI technology.

However, before he takes his technology to next level human trials, he’ll need to get the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first, which promises to be a complicated feat. The current procedure for implanting the threads requires drilling holes in the skull.

If he succeeds in getting FDA approval, it’ll likely be because he’s pitching the advance as a technology meant to address paralysis.

“This, I think, has a very good purpose which is to cure important diseases and ultimately to help secure humanity’s future as a civilisation relative to AI,” Musk told the crowd.

“The threads are very tiny and there’s a lot of them and they’re very carefully placed, and the operation on a per chip basis involves just a 2mm incision, which is dilated to 8mm and then the chip is placed through that. It goes back to being 2mm and you can basically glue it shut; you don’t need a stitch.”

Once implanted, according to Musk, the chip would connect wirelessly to devices. “It basically Bluetooths to your phone,” he said. “We’ll have to watch the App Store updates to that one,” he added.   

Musk cofounded Neuralink in 2017 and serves as the company’s CEO, though it’s unclear how much involvement he has given that he’s also serving as CEO for SpaceX and Tesla. 

Read more: Elon Musk’s Top Productivity Secret

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