Elon Musk and his team of boffins are exploring ways in which they can connect a computer interface to the mind. The South African-born billionaire claims to have already trialled the revolutionary device on a monkey which was able to control the computer with its brain. Mr Musk said at a presentation on Tuesday: “A monkey has been able to control the computer with his brain.”
NeuraLink describes the device as “sewing machine-like”. The system implants ultra-thin threads deep into the brain’s nervous system.
The company has applied to US regulators in the hopes of beginning trials on humans next year.
Primarily, the firm states that initially it wants to help people with severe neurological conditions, but as with all of his companies, Mr Musk is aiming for more and sees humanity’s future as having “superhuman cognition”.
The device in question, which is nameless so far, will see the tiny thread fitted with 3,000 electrodes which can monitor the activity of 1,000 neurons.
This means the implanted device would be able to target very specific areas of the brain, and said device could analyse the neurons and using artificial intelligence (AI) would work out hot to stimulate the patient.
Details on how brain activity will be translated or how the brain would be stimulated have not been released.
Mr Musk said: “It’s not like suddenly we will have this incredible neural lace and will take over people’s brains.
“It will take a long time.”
However, he did say the device would allow for “symbiosis with artificial intelligence”.
NeuraLink, which Mr Musk has invested over $100 million (£80 million) in, said they went public with their plans as to put a halt to rumours.
Max Hodak, Neuralink’s president and one of the company’s founders, said: “We want this burden of stealth mode off of us so that we can keep building and do things like normal people, such as publish papers.”
Initially, the device would be implanted using drills but the scientists hope they will one day be able to use laser technology.
Mr Hodak continued: “One of the big bottlenecks is that a mechanical drill couples vibration through the skull, which is unpleasant, whereas a laser drill, you wouldn’t feel.”
Mr Musk hopes the product will be on the market within four years.
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