Elon Musk is looking towards a future involving the symbiotic relationship between human beings and artificial intelligence.
During a live-stream presentation on July 16th, Musk introduced Neuralink. The goal of Neuralink is to link microscopic processors to the brain. Microscopic processors have threads that are thinner and narrower than human hair.
The connection would be made through the neurons, where the threads can read the brains activity as well as give control to the subject. For example, the users would be able to control data with their mind. The data would be processed into a hearing aid like technology that would be worn behind the ear.
“I think this is going to be important at a civilization-wide scale,” Musk said,
“even under a benign artificial intelligence, we will be left behind. With a high bandwidth brain-machine interface, we will have the option to go along for the ride.”
Neuralink wouldn’t need invasive surgery either. According to Musk, a robot would handle the procedure. Yep, you heard it, the procedure will be conducted by a machine that will create a small incision in the skull where the threads would be planted.
According to Designboom, “insert the device neuralink has also developed a surgical robot equipped with advanced optics, capable of weaving the delicate threads throughout brain tissue without damaging blood vessels the neurosurgical robot inserts six threads (192 electrodes) per minute using a 24-micron needle. Neuralink described the robot [as working] ‘somewhat like a sewing machine’ to implant the threads.”
“Once embedded in the user’s brain, the threads will be capable of performing both read and write operations at very high data volume. The external receiver would then wirelessly communicate with the embedded chip and connect to apps, though it currently relies on a hardwired external connection (USB-C).”
The whole idea sounds like it is out of a science fiction novel. The device would work on Bluetooth and the user would be able to connect and control things through their phones. According to Musk, this will help people with brain injuries. It would also boost the user’s memory as well as give telepathic abilities.
Are There Health Concerns Associated with Neuralink?
As fun as this sounds, no implications on whether or not something like this can be dangerous. I’m talking about radiation in the brain which we all know can cause cancer. Furthermore, Could the material used in the implant cause an autoimmune response as it may be seen as a “foreign invader” in the body?
Not just that, if this technology can be controlled by the user, could it be controlled by someone who isn’t the user. In other words, can this technology be used to hack and further manipulate the population.
As fascinating and cool as this sounds, it’s pretty hard to decide where to stand on the whole idea of AI connecting to the human brain.
Elon Musk believes this is a positive step towards the future and hopes to implant the device in a human subject by the end of next year.