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Elon Musk plans human trials for brain-computer Neuralink in 2020

by Mark Tyson on 19 July 2019, 11:11

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Earlier this week Elon Musk launched Neuralink, a brain-machine interfaces (BMI) start-up he co-founded in 2017. The biggest news was that the firm is looking to start human trials of its technology next year. This isn't a trivial step though, as Neuralink technology requires an invasive procedure - drilling holes into the human brain and implanting threads that attach to a USB-C and Bluetooth connected chip.

Enabling a kind of telepathy

In case you are thinking this seems a step too far for PC, tech enthusiasts and console gamers, the target audience is people who are suffering from certain severe brain injuries (stroke, cancer lesion, congenital). Musk said on Tuesday that the Neuralink devices could go further though, enabling a king of telepathy. Musk's wider ambition is to "help secure humanity's future as a civilization relative to AI".

Neuralink's tech has already been tested in rats, and Musk talked about using this, or a related technology, with monkeys. "A monkey has been able to control the computer with his brain,” he said at a live streamed event in San Francisco.

Custom robot does the surgery

At this moment Neuralink is seeking US FDA approval to begin clinical trials on human subjects. While the process of drilling holes in brains, threading in tiny wires and connecting to computer SoCs sounds complicated if not dangerous, Neuralink says it is developing tech to make it routine. Neuralink has a custom robot that can do the handiwork and over time it reckons the process will be "as simple as laser-eye surgery," reports CNBC.

A recently published paper describing Neuralink's works says that its BMI is a high-bandwidth system with as many as 3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 threads. Furthermore, a single USB-C cable "provides full-bandwidth data streaming from the device, recording from all channels simultaneously".



HEXUS Forums :: 27 Comments

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No no no no no AND no! You could offer me billions and I would laugh in your face. I get that tech being part of us is inevitable in the future, but not like this Elon, not like this. The picture of the rat makes me feel sick.

Sure, by all means it could prove useful for people who are in a situation where this kind of thing wouldn't be any more invasive than surgery they are already going through and could help them in some way, but I don't see how creating a form of telepathy is going to help someone with a brain tumor, it kind of feels like he is hiding the fact he is just using them as easy targets, because where would this go after that? The general public? No thanks.
Next year… Elon Musk announces plans to land on surface of Sun.
EvilCycle
No no no no no AND no! You could offer me billions and I would laugh in your face. I get that tech being part of us is inevitable in the future, but not like this Elon, not like this. The picture of the rat makes me feel sick.

Sure, by all means it could prove useful for people who are in a situation where this kind of thing wouldn't be any more invasive than surgery they are already going through and could help them in some way, but I don't see how creating a form of telepathy is going to help someone with a brain tumor, it kind of feels like he is hiding the fact he is just using them as easy targets, because where would this go after that? The general public? No thanks.

I'm the complete opposite and am a firm believer that eventually Cyberisation is the future of the human race.

Zony eyes to replace the visually impaired, override central nervous system for paraplegics. Neural acceleration with offloaded compute.

It's dangerous and crazy but I don't see how getting hung up on how this stuff has to be tested being a barrier is necessary.

If I were disabled/infirm or nearing death, I would sign up for this stuff without a second thought.
Tabbykatze
I'm the complete opposite and am a firm believer that eventually Cyberisation is the future of the human race.

But do you think Musk is really the one to lead it?
Ttaskmaster
But do you think Musk is really the one to lead it?

Yes, I do. For all his flaws his vision is betterment of the human race and economic wins are secondary to that.

I trust him to do it more than all of the worlds state funded projects combined.

I could be wrong and he could end up turning us all into cybermen but at least we'd all be employed and have a sui…place to sleep, right?!?