Elon Musk backs Neuralink startup aimed at linking human brains with computers

What was once only science fiction is now a lot closer to becoming science fact.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Inc. and SpaceX, is now part of a new AI initiative called Neuralink, which will explore the technologies necessary to create a human brain to computer linkage without physical interfaces between the two. The startup, which was first reported on Monday by The Wall Street Journal, will develop “neural lace” technology, which is sci-fi shorthand for linkages in which humans can seek self-improvement through technology connections. Neuralink would involve electrodes that move thought messages from the brain to a computer and back again. It’s a download-upload function with a whole new set of possibilities.

Musk had stated in February while at the World Government Summit that humans needed to avoid becoming redundant with the pervasive artificial intelligence in our world. Neuralink is Musk’s first step toward achieving that quest of essentially merging humans with software to keep abreast of artificial intelligence innovations.

What would neural lace technology involve?

Some individuals now have electrode rays and other devices implanted in their skulls due to neurological medical necessity. Implanting electrodes via a Neuralink type of process within the human skull would be a complex, dangerous, and rare invasive process. But forward-thinking individuals like Musk are not easily stymied by current neurosurgical limitations. In fact, following the leads of teams of neuroscientists and software engineers who are attempting to reverse the effects of neurodegenerative diseases, Musk and his collaborators intend to lead the way to making human brains more efficient, quicker, and wired.

Of course, neuroscience as is envisioned in the Neuralink application is still largely an abstract concept. Until scholars possess a more specific comprehension of how the human brain utilizes neurons to communicate, practical testing on humans will face many obstacles, including resistance from volunteers.

“People are only going to be amenable to the idea [of an implant] if they have a very serious medical condition they might get help with,” Blake Richards, a neuroscientist and assistant professor and the University of Toronto, told The Verge in an interview earlier this year. “Most healthy individuals are uncomfortable with the idea of having a doctor crack open their skull.”

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