Over 18 months ago, Neuralink surprised the internet when it posted a video of Pager the monkey playing the video game Pong with his mind. During Neuralink’s Show and Tell Fall 2022 event, Elon Musk revealed that the brain-machine startup had expanded its team of implanted test monkeys.
These include Sake the monkey, which was shown on video manipulating an onscreen keyboard using his mind. This is quite incredible in its own right, though Elon Musk jokingly clarified that Sake the monkey is only really moving a cursor across a virtual keyboard. This is because he’s a monkey, so he can’t spell.
“Here you can see Sake, that’s one of our other monkeys, typing on a keyboard. This is telepathic typing. Though to be clear, he’s not actually using a keyboard. He’s moving the cursor with his mind to the highlighted key. Now technically, he can’t actually spell. So I don’t wanna oversell this thing, because that’s the next version,” Musk said.
Later videos of Sake in action showed the monkey operating his virtual keyboard and choosing his treat for performing his task. A look at the movements of the cursor on the virtual keyboard suggests that there is little lag as Sake used his brain implant. Musk also highlighted that Neuralink takes care of its animal test subjects very well.
“It’s important to show that Sake actually likes doing the demo. He’s not like strapped to the chair or anything. The monkeys actually enjoy doing the demos. And they get the banana smoothies, so it’s kind of a fun game. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we care here about animal welfare. And I’m pretty sure our monkeys are pretty happy,” Musk said.
Musk also noted that some of its team of monkeys had received upgrades to their Neuralink implants. These include Pager, who has had an implant on his brain for some time now, with no reportedly no ill effects.
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