Elon Musk has lastly broken his silence by brain-computer business Neuralink. It has held its plans confidential since the company’s establishment in 2016, but in a Tuesday night lecture, it demonstrated its views and clarified what the company has accomplished so far.
What’s the construction of Neuralink?
The firm presented in the case a brain-computer interface–a technology that enables brain activity readers. Neuralink claims its device will have about 3000 implanted surgically, and about 1000 neurons can be monitored at once. In approximately 100 slender, 4-6 micrometers width, which is significantly less than hair length, the electrodes are integrated. Threads collect electrode readings and are linked via a tiny incision behind the ear to the equipment, which sends the data to a Smartphone App using Bluetooth.
Why does the company do so?
Neuralink states that the interface can be used in everything from assisting paralytic individuals to controlling prosthesis to enabling individuals to communicate directly with artificial intelligence: “It will sound quite strange, but will attain a type of symbiosis with artificial intelligence,” Musk stated at the case.
We are currently using a technology interface that our fingers or eyes slow down, such as our laptops. It is important to insert a chip into our minds, Musk says, to speed stuff up.
Is it going to work?
A lengthy way remains to be done. Many study organizations work on brain-computer interfaces and some progress has been made in the last few years.
One system is being studied, called BrainGate, for individuals who have lost control of their limbs with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neuron disease). The implant turns the brain activity into digital prothesis instructions. Similar equipment has been used for moving cursors on a screen, Pong or even robotic hand control.
The control of the appliances usually requires some time and requires painstaking consideration in carrying out a particular action. These ideas can then be converted into an intervention, such as a screen selection.
So far, what did Neuralink do?
The firm tested the idea in mice and a monkey although there is still little detail. Neuralink claims it used a machine-type robot that the company was like a sewing machine to insert 1,500 electrodes separately into the brain with the mouse.
Musk also disclosed that a monkey has used the machine to control a laptop during a question and answer session. This was verified later but not further developed by a spokesman.
What next? What next?
Musk said that by 2020 the interfaces between brain-machines could be prepared for human medical studies. The US Food and Drug Administration issued guidelines on what businesses are going to have to demonstrate they can approve equipment like this before earlier this year, and the team is working on this in order to implement them for individuals with spinal cord damage by the end of next year. Musk said the event was mainly aimed at recruiting employees for the business.
What’s the response?
Anthony Hannan, of the Australian Florey Institute for neuroscience and mental health, said that the sophistication of the latest technology is “interesting,” and can advance more quickly than other small competitions through the financial support and entrepreneurship of musk. He is worried, however, that healthy people can use this.
Invasive surgery not only is dangerous unnecessarily but any technology that can allow someone else to read or regulate one’s ideas or actions should be done cautiously, he suggests.
“It is a primary problem, though I’m sure they’re working hard on how the device prevents infection from entering the brain along with the films,” tells David Grayden at Melbourne University.