In 2019, Elon Musk announced a new tech venture involving the brain. Dubbed Neuralink, the start up is developing neural linking chips that use technology to assist in controlling certain parts of brain function. From simply listening to music directly to our brains to more important uses such as assisting with debilitating brain injuries and illnesses, Musk’s project may be the next step in modern technology.
Over the weekend, Musk began trials of Neuralink via livestream, where Gertrude the pig was used to demonstrate brain activity. “It’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires,” he explained. The coin-sized chip will eventually fit “quite nicely in your skull,” he said. “It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know.”
While the technology will prove to be quite remarkable – abilities include being able to control your phone and laptop via brainwaves and assist people with dementia and Parkinson’s disease – there are fears that it could fall into the wrong hands. Technological war fare a very real possibility. Furthermore, it hones into Elon Musk’s own fear of Artificial Intelligence taking over. He along with a group of 116 robotics and AI pioneers wrote a letter to the UN in 2017 stating, “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”
“Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind,” said Musk. “With a high bandwidth brain machine interface, we can go along for the ride and effectively have the option of merging with AI.”
The Nerualink project has applied for human trials with aims to being this year if it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Stay tuned.