# Elon Musk Mind Machine

Elon Musk Mind Machine

Elon Musk Mind Machine

Elon Musk, the celebrity entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, finally unveiled what his company Neuralink has been up to for the past two years.

Neuralink is developing a brain-machine interface, or BMI, with the goal of one day helping the paralyzed use robotic limbs or other devices.

Musk even envisions a future where able-bodied people also have BMIs that will let them communicate with artificial intelligence more efficiently.

But BMIs have been around for over a decade, so what makes Neuralink’s device newsworthy?

Well, aside from Elon Musk himself.

What can I say, everything the guy does generates publicity.

He has a habit of making bold predictions and goals for the future, like his claim that putting a human on Mars in the next four years “sounds doable.”

For perspective, NASA’s crewed missions to Mars won’t happen until the 2030s.

So of course when Musk announces a company that’s created thin threads to be implanted in human brains, it’s going to make… headlines.

Anyway, hilarious puns aside, that is one of the more exciting aspects of Neuralink’s coming out party; the thin cellophane-like filaments containing electrodes that will be inserted into the brain.

Elon Musk Mind Machine

BMIs that have come before using an array of stiff needles with electrodes to detect neural activity.

As you might imagine, squishing a microscopic pincushion into your brain causes some damage, and the recovery process can lead to some points of contact being lost over time.

The brain also shifts inside the skull, and when that happens, the needles can cause further damage.

Flexible threads of electrodes just 4 to 6 micrometers wide could be less invasive and damaging.

Neuralink also claims they would allow for a higher volume of data since they could use over 3,000 electrodes, while some current BMIs have up to about 100.

But their flexibility also makes them harder to insert, like pushing on a rope.

To go along with their threaded electrode development, Neuralink also announced a remotely operated neurosurgical robot capable of inserting 6 threads a minute.

Imagine a microscope and a sewing machine had a baby and you get the gist of it.

But Musk’s company still has bigger goals in mind.

They’re also hoping to do away with the mechanical drilling necessary to pierce the skull and get to those delicious brain meats.

A physical drill sends vibrations through the skull, which sounds unpleasant, to say the least.

Instead, Neuralink would like to crack your bone-bucket with, what else, lasers.

And once they’re done lasering holes in your skull and using a Robo-sewer to run you full of electrodes, they’d like to sell your skull up again completely.

Elon Musk Mind Machine

Right now, BMIs rely on some sort of port sticking out of the skin.

Neuralink’s prototype has a USB-C plug to connect it to hardware outside.

A wireless connection would probably mean fewer data could be sent back and forth, but it would eliminate the open hole in the skull, a prime site for dangerous infections.

Neuralink envisions a sleek, battery-powered computer sitting behind the ear that will communicate with implanted chips connected to four different areas of the brain.

It might even be controlled by an app.

Some of the uses of BMIs are obvious.

People in wheelchairs could control it with their minds instead of a joystick.

Those who have lost limbs could have a connection to a robotic arm they can manipulate.

And Musk envisions his threads of electrodes not only be used to detect brain signals

but giving feedback as well.

Elon Musk Mind Machine

Controlling an arm that doesn’t tell you where it is is like moving a limb that’s fallen asleep.

Some sort of sensory feedback would go a long way to making the technology more practical.

But Musk also sees uses for his technology that are not as readily apparent.

Right now the way your brain communicates with the outside world is pretty limited.

If you want to talk to a computer, you’ve got your mouth for speaking and your fingers for typing and that’s about it.

Musk envisions high-bandwidth communication directly from your brain to machines and vice-versa.

He hopes to make the human relationship with AI a symbiotic one, instead of his famously pessimistic outlook on the future of artificial intelligence.

But again, this may be Musk looking at such a big picture he’s painting off-canvas.

Before any of this can happen Neuralink needs to get approval from the FDA to begin testing their technology in humans.

Elon Musk Mind Machine

The threads need to be proven to survive the highly corrosive salty solution inside the bra And there’s a host of ethical, security, and privacy issues that need to be worked out as well.

Right now Neuralink technology has only been tested in rats, and the grander ideas they’ve proposed were in a white paper that has yet to be peer-reviewed by other academics.

Musk hopes to have human trials beginning by the end of next year, but like his ambitious four-years-to-Mars prediction, he might be ahead of his time.

Would you use this technology to mind-meld with computers or are you worried about ethics and security?

Let us know in the comments. 🙂

# Elon Musk Mind Machine

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