As anticipation builds for Neuralink’s upcoming livestream on August 28, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk provided yet another exciting update for the event. According to Musk, the brain-machine interface startup will not only show a working Neuralink device on Friday; it will also show a “Version 2” of the machine that would be used by the company to embed implants into the brain.
The update was posted on Twitter after Musk was asked if Neuralink will also be showing an improved version of the custom implant robot that the startup featured in its July 2019 presentation. Both Elon Musk and Dr. Matthew MacDougall, head surgeon at Neuralink, have noted that the startup is working towards improving the brain-machine implant process until the procedure becomes as seamless as Lasik.
Musk, for its part, noted in his recent update that the V2 machine is not yet at Lasik level, though it is an improved version of the implant robot that the company showed last year. Ever the optimist, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO noted that the implantation process of Neuralink’s brain-machine interface could get pretty close to Lasik in the next few years. “Yes, will show V2. Still far from LASIK, but could get pretty close in a few years,” Musk wrote.
Elon Musk has been notably excited about Neuralink’s progress. In a tweet at the end of July, the Tesla CEO stated that Neuralink will be showing “neurons firing in real-time” on its August 28 presentation. These statements highlighted a point that Musk shared back in February, when he expressed excitement at what Neuralink will be presenting this year.
“Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s *awesome,* Musk wrote then. In an earlier tweet, Musk added that the “profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year. Just needs to be unequivocally better than Utah Array, which is already in some humans & has severe drawbacks.”
Neuralink’s long-term goals are nothing short of science-fiction, with the startup working on obtaining human symbiosis with artificial intelligence by connecting electrodes through the brain and reading its neuron signals en masse. The possibilities of the technology are pretty much endless, though the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has noted that Neuralink will be focusing on using its technology for medical purposes, at least for the short-term.
Some of these short-term goals were shared by Musk during an appearance at MIT research scientist Lex Fridman’s Artificial Intelligence Podcast. According to Musk, Neuralink’s tech will likely be able to help address a number of brain-related diseases. “I think at first (Neuralink) will solve a lot of brain-related diseases. Could be anything from like autism, schizophrenia and memory loss (Alzheimer’s). To be able to do this, you have to be able to interface with the neurons at a detail level, and you need to be able to fire the right neurons, read the right neurons and then effectively create a circuit [to] replace what’s broken with silicon, (which will) end up having the same functionality,” Musk said.