Elon Musk, the famed billionaire and entrepreneur has started a new company and endeavor with the eventual aim of merging humans and machines. Neuralink, as the company is reportedly called, wants to create what can essentially be described as cyborgs, by implanting human brains with computing devices.
The new company will be almost entirely funded out of Musk’s own pocket according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Musk himself hasn’t made any public comments, except to say he’ll reveal more about Neuralink next week. He also alluded to the “existential risk” of not investing in a project such as this.
Last year, Musk, whose other interests include self-driving cars, sending people to Mars and boring holes through the Earth for transportation, mentioned the idea of a “neural lace”. The term refers to an implant or device that bridges our squishy biological brains with machines, thus improving cognition, memory, and altering what it means to be human. At the time, Musk said the field held great interest and that someone should do it – maybe even himself.
Over the last year, the entrepreneur has repeatedly said that becoming cyborgs is perhaps the only way for humans to remain relevant in the coming age of machine automation and AI, again hinting at the seriousness and the “existential risk” of not pursuing this technology.
Despite the sci-fi-esque scenarios that the idea of a “neural lace” may hint at, Neuralink has a very long way to go. Current medical and scientific knowledge on the brain’s inner workings is still limited, and implanting devices inside of human brains is very risky and at the very cutting edge of medical research.
Still, if Musk has proven something again and again, it’s that he won’t stop pursuing projects which he believes in, just because they’re very difficult and the technology doesn’t yet exist.