Neuralink is Elon Musk's bold initiative to create an interface between a brain and a computer chip. Revealed back in 2017, the company was funded entirely out of Musk's own pocket. While many raised suspicions about the potential misuse of the technology, Musk insists that its raison d'etre is to cure medical injuries related to the spinal cord and brain and improve cognition and memory. Over the years, there have been a bunch of updates on the project. Perhaps most importantly, the chip was successfully implanted in a monkey, allowing it to control a computer with its brain. While the exact nature of this control wasn't entirely clear, Musk dubbed that result as "very positive."
Building on this, Musk gave a couple of added details about Neuralink's tests on monkeys. Bloomberg reports that while speaking to Clubhouse, which is a private social app where users engage in informal conversations, Musk told several thousand listeners that his company has a happy monkey with Neuralink implanted in its skull who enjoys playing video games:
“We have a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull with tiny wires who can play video games with his mind. You can’t see where the implant is and he’s a happy monkey. We have the nicest monkey facilities in the world. We want them to play mind-Pong with each other.”
When Neuralink's working was first highlighted, many people raised a concern that implanting a device in the skull would not only be a notoriously difficult procedure, but it might not look all that cosmetically pleasing either. Speaking to Joe Rogan on his podcast, the billionaire clarified that the device would sit flush with the skull. He further added on Clubhouse today that:
“There are primitive versions of this device with wires sticking out of your head, but it’s like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires that go into your brain,”
Going back to his plugged-in monkeys, he further indicated that their videos could be released in about a month. As with the experiments before, the exact nature and details of the controllability of the computer are unclear. The videos could clear up the confusion, and for those, we shall be on the lookout.
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