With Elon Musk’s Neuralink, the human brain can be downloaded onto a computer

On a mission on exploring the human brain, Elon Musk set up Neuralink in 2016 trying to explore how the brain can link to a computer interface. Being a conceptual startup, the company plans on using the interface that connects the brain to a machine with artificial intelligence with the help of a surgery that entails planting processors into human brains. This process claims to be not anymore invasive than LASEK.

The idea behind creating a brain-machine interface is not all that new and it can potentially help a lot of people. According to a published research paper, the Brain-machine interfaces can possibly be very beneficial in treatments associated with neurological disorders and being able to gain back sensory and motor skills. It all comes down to the threat that artificial intelligence poses in the case of linking the human brain to a computer.

It is very widely believed that Artificial Intelligence undoubtedly has the power of improving the world and benefiting almost all industries across the globe but the same people seem to worry about the consequences of catastrophes caused by AI if the situation is not handled well.

Elon Musk Neuralink 2
Image: Neuralink via YouTube

A Look at the near future with Neuralink

Neuralink in the future is going to allow you to do a lot without even having to lift a finger. By just using your thoughts, you would be able to control several appliances like play some music in the background or switch the TV on or off without using a remote. You could even turn your coffee machine on without even moving. All you would require is your mind. But its benefits are not just limited to operating smart devices. It goes much beyond that as it can offer people greater control of their lives such as those suffering from disabilities related to movement helping them better communicate with their family and friends easily carry out their daily tasks that might have been proved to be difficult in the past. Patients that suffer from paralysis will be able to operate computers and smart appliances.

Human Brain Implant Neuralink
Image Source: Neuralink Research Paper

Wearing the device

Elon Musk, along with a 100 of his team of employees presented what they have worked on thus far at Neuralink in July 2019. They have developed a tiny chip called the N1 which is made of a little more than 3000 electrodes. These are then attached to thin flexible threads and these electrodes are able to observe the activity of 1000 neurons. The device has the ability to focus on a precise area of the brain thus making it a lot safer for surgeries. Up to 10 of these N1 chips can be implanted into the brain at once. Experiments have already been carried out on rats and monkeys. The outcomes have been far from disappointing since a monkey was able to control a computer during one of these experiments. None of these tests have been performed on the human brain yet. The team at Neuralink awaits the approval from FDA after which they can start with human trials.

Human Brain Implant Neuralink
Image Source: Neuralink Research Paper

Risks associated to human brain with Neuralink

There aren’t many risks associated with this product as Musk reassures the people saying it is completely safe to use. Besides, BMI technology has been around for a while now it is already being used to help with disabilities related to mobility. But the procedure is very invasive despite being in its infinite stage and it is also not so scalable. Now the N1 bandwidth system of Neuralink is promised to be much safer, minimally invasive, and much easier to incorporate in our lives.

Is the product worth it?

Max Hodak, the CEO of Neuralink says that the first ones to get to try out this product would be quadriplegic patients with spinal cord injuries. It can potentially help out with neurological disorders where the brain isn’t able to connect to the nerves around the body. Elon Musk envisions a future where such technology is nothing out of the ordinary and encouraging people into the new age where we are one with technology and be in a position to compete with artificial intelligence as species.

Update on Elon Musk’s Human Brain Interface – Nueralink

Elon Musk took to twitter in February 2020 to suggest that the latest update on Neuralink is better than what was displayed last year. Musk quoted “The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year,” and continued with “Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome*.”

Elon Musk also hinted on the possibility of a follow-up live event on the Nueralink update but also added “First, we need to make it super safe & easy to use, then determine greatest utility vs risk. From initially working to volume production & implantation is a long road.”

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