October 20, 2020

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Elon Musk to reveal more details about brain-computer startup

2 min read
Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink aims to connect humans directly to computers: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Elon Musk will reveal new details about his brain-computer interface startup Neuralink next month.

The technology entrepreneur, who also heads up electric car company Tesla and private space firm SpaceX, tweeted on Thursday that the venture’s core aim is to allow the human brain to compete with artificial intelligence.

“If you can’t beat em, join em – Neuralink’s mission statement,” he tweeted, apparently in reference to the competition with AI. “Progress update August 28.”

During a presentation last year, Mr Musk said that first-generation devices would be used to treat brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, before allowing people to “ultimately achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”

A white paper describing the technology detailed how a tiny chip connects to the brain through thousands of “flexible electrode threads”, each one thinner than a human hair.

A version of the system has already been tested on mice and monkeys and human trials were set to start this year, though no details have been publicly disclosed.

Mr Musk has frequently stated his belief that the development of powerful AI poses one of the greatest existential threats to humanity.

He has warned that within the next few decades humanity could fall so far behind AI that machines will view humans in the same way that humans currently view house pets.

The development of Neuralink’s technology is aimed at addressing this, allowing the computing power of the human brain to be vastly increased.

Earlier this year, Mr Musk said Neuralink’s technology would render human language obsolete within the next five to 10 years.

“You wouldn’t need to talk… We could still do it for sentimental reasons,” he said on the Joe Rogan Podcast.

“You would be able to communicate very quickly and with far more precision… I’m not sure what would happen to language. In a situation like this it would kind of be like The Matrix. You want to speak a different language? No problem, just download the program.”

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Elon Musk unveils Neuralink ‘threads’ that connect brains to computers

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