Elon Musk has a vision of linking human brains to computers in order to avoid our species from being outpaced by artificial intelligence – and this dream is set to become a reality.
Speaking on Joe Rogan’s podcast, the billionaire said his company Neuralink will have a version of its brain implant ready ‘within a year.’
Musk explained that the process involves removing a chunk of the skull, robots then insert electrodes into the brain and the device into the hole, with only a small scar left behind.
Neuralink, which was founded in 2016, is designing tiny flexible ‘threads’ that are ten times thinner than a human hair with the goal of treating brain injuries and trauma. The tech tycoon also revealed that the technology could develop into a full brain interface in just 25 years, which would enable ‘symbiosis’ between humans and AI.
We’re not testing people yet, but I think it won’t be too long,’ Musk told Rogan. ‘We may be able to implant a neural link in less than a year in a person I think.’
The news follows Musk announced in February tweet that the firm, which he co-founded, improved the initial design of the implant. Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome*, he wrote.
In the podcast, Musk dished to Rogan about the technology, how it is implanted and what it can do to improve the human body.
The tech tycoon explained that the device is about one inch in diameter, similar to the face of a smart watch, and is implanted by removing a small chunk of the skull.
A small robot connects the thread-like electrodes to certain areas of the brain, stitches up the hole and the only visible remains is a scar left behind from the incision.
‘If you got an interface into the motor cortex, and then an implant that’s like a microcontroller near muscle groups you can then create a sort of a neural shunt that restores somebody who quadriplegic to full functionality, like they can walk around, be normal – maybe slightly better overtime,’ Musk explained.
When asked about the risks involved with placing a foreign object in the body, Musk said there is ‘a very low potential risk for rejection.’
‘People put in heart monitors and things for epileptic seizures, deep brain simulation, artificial hips and knees that kind of thing,’ he said, noting that ‘it’s well known what is cause for a rejection or not.’
Along with curing aliments, the chip could change the way human beings interface with each other. ‘You wouldn’t need to talk,’ Musk said, who foresees the technology going further to enable ‘symbiosis’ between humans and AI.
‘I think this is one of the paths to like AI is getting better and better,’ Musk said.
‘We are kind of left behind, we are just too dumb.’ So how do you go along for the ride?’
‘If you can’t beat them join them.’ ‘We are already a cyborg to some degree,’ Musk told Rogan.
‘You got your phone, you got your laptop… If you’re missing your phone, it feels like missing limb syndrome.’
However, the CEO noted that our data rate to electronics is slow, but combined with a computer and we could communicate just as fast as one.
This would improve the symbiosis between human and machine and Musk said that in 25 years from now, assuming civilization is around, there could be an entire brain interface.
This means all the neurons would be connected to an AI extension of yourself.
‘You already have a computer extension of yourself and an online extension when someone dies, it is like an online ghost,’ the tech tycoon said.
‘It would just be that more of you would be in the cloud instead of your body.’