Neuralink has finally revealed what it has been working on over the past number of years with Elon Musk projecting his vision for Neuralink merging the human brain with artificial intelligence. The start-up aims to build a scalable implant to connect human brains with computers to improve brain function, and has a longer term, more fantastical goal of people merging with AI.
What is Neuralink?
Neuralink is the latest business venture by Elon Musk, developing technology to help advance human cognitive thinking. Founded in 2015, it was developed as a device to help patients suffering from brain injuries. With further backing from Musk in 2017, it was announced the goal of the brain machine interface was to fuse man and machine to advance cognitive thinking.
Musk informs that Neuralink has developed a chip containing an array of up to 96 small, polymer threads, each with up to 32 electrodes that can be implanted into the bran via robot and a 2 millimetre incision, and once implanted the chip would connect wirelessly to devices.
In a presentation to the Californian Academy of Sciences, Neuralink presented a medical device capable of reading information from 1,500 flexible electrodes connected to a lab rat. The results were 15 times faster than current systems embedded in humans. Although in very early stages, the goal is to test its brain-machine interface in humans within the next two years. By implanting in the brain, the aim is for people with brain injuries or paralysis for example, to control computers with their mind.
The project has however, raised some concern and doubt with industry experts. An artificial intelligence industry fellow at the University of Essex believes the projections to trial on humans by 2020 is wildly optimistic as approval of processes can be slow and the recruitment of human test subjects is even more problematic.