The news broke this week that tech guru and philanthropist, Elon Musk, has decided to create an innovative brain implant that has the ability to stream music directly into our brains. Musk states that his new Neuralink start-up is in the midst of developing a brain-computer interface that will be inserted directly into the brain like a “sewing machine”.
What I want to know is, who would want this? Or better yet, why does Elon Musk believe that this technological advancement is a good use of his time?
What is Neuralink?
Neuralink was established back in 2016, founded by Elon Musk and a team of engineers. Neuralink’s goal is to create brain-implants that have the ability to “help control hormone levels and use them to our advantage (enhanced abilities and reasoning, anxiety relief, etc.).” Essentially, Musk is trying to slowly reduce the boundary between humans and machines.
The process of this chip is simple; some components are attached to the brain through a surgical procedure performed by a highly trained robot, and the rest will be situated behind your ear resembling a hearing aid. Seems easy enough right?
The chip itself is said to be 8mm in diameter and only 4mm in height. It’s understandable why you would need a robot to insert this device for the best possible outcome, the chip itself is so small that it would lend itself to human error.
What does Elon Musk think he’s doing?
Although we have all been aware of the technological advancements that Neuralink have been promising, the extent of Musk’s plans for this interface were relatively unknown. That was until he decided to tell the world in the best way he knew how; via his twitter account.
The tech billionaire technologist began to reveal more about his plan when responding to a tweet from computer programmer Austin Howard.
Musk also hinted at other technological advancements…
In summary, it appears that Elon Musk believes this technology will have the ability to fix a multitude of neurological disorders, as well as becoming a platform for our civilisation to grow from.
[Neuralink] is not a mandatory thing. This is a thing you can choose to have if you want. This is something I think will be really important at a civilization-level scale. – Elon Musk
Will this benefit us or hinder us
The ramifications of this device are unknown at this point. Human trials have not begun as of yet (thankfully) but Musk stated on Joe Rogan’s podcast back in May that this process could begin within the next few months.
Since the announcement that Musk wanted to create brain-implanting technology, there has only been a single presentation on the technology, and it’s uses. To me, this seems risky and wildly inappropriate. He brandishes his new technology as being a step forward in becoming our new civilisation, yet the public are unaware of the capabilities and risks of this device. If he wishes to begin trials of this technology, surely the public should be aware of the risks that this technology could pose.
However, it is proposed that more information regarding Neuralink will be released on the 28th August, and until then all we can do is speculate on the potential that this technology can have in our society. Elon Musk has brought us other daring pieces of technology, and this may be the next step.