Have you ever wanted a microchip implanted into your brain?
Yeah, me neither, but if Elon Musk has his way, that’s apparently how we’re going to survive the coming decades.
Survive what, you ask?
A future shaped by artificial general intelligence.
That’s almost too much for me to process, although apparently if I had a Neuralink chip I wouldn’t have this problem.
That’s what Musk is calling a prototype device that could one day be placed inside our skulls, making us “part-human, part-cyborg”, because, as he has said in the past, “if you can’t beat it, join it”.
The chip is developed by Musk’s startup, Neuralink, and four years after his first big reveal, he’s “ready to show the world his plans to hack the human brain”.
The Telegraph looked into how this thing is supposed to work:
At four by four millimetres, it is claimed the chip will connect to a thousand “threads” thinner than a human hair, which enter the brain through four holes drilled into the skull.
Electrodes embedded in the threads, which are “sewed” to the chip, can then pick up electrical signals from neurons that indicate activity in the brain that is then translated into movement or behaviour.
The threads would then be linked to a removable “pod”, which could sit behind the ear, and connect wirelessly with other devices.
Musk also claims that the device will at some point allow people to communicate telepathically, but for now, the device is set to be used medically to help paralysed patients communicate through their smartphones and computers.
It could also allow for brains to be stimulated by the chips itself, although the company said understanding these signals would take time for the brain. “It’s a long process. It’s like learning to touch type or play piano,” Neuralink president and co-founder Max Hodak said.
In one trial, the micro-electrodes of the chip and a computer managed to “decode” neural signals in real-time of people with paralysis in their hand and arm, allowing them to control a cursor on the screen of a computer “simply by thinking about the movement”.
That’s pretty cool. I can get behind that.
Later tonight, Musk will be unveiling the device in a live-streamed demonstration.
Not everyone is thrilled about this, though, with former employees concerned about Neuralink’s timeline with such cutting-edge technology.
One account claimed researchers “attempted to wire thousands of electrodes into a sheep’s brain in a single surgical procedure”, which “failed”.
Okay…that sounds less cool.
You can read more on that here.
Whatever happens, you can watch the live demonstration below, at midnight tonight:
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