We’ve known for about a month now that Elon Musk is developing a new company called Neuralink, which aims to connect the human brain to computers. The product the company envisions has been called an “implantable brain-computer interface.”
It’s an ambitious venture from the man known for Tesla and SpaceX—one of the most influential entrepreneurs of our generation.
Now we have more detail on the Neuralink venture—including the exciting detail that Musk plans to have a product available as early as four years from now.
Plenty came to light from an interview/explainer published by Wait But Why. You can read the lengthy, 36,000-word piece here. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s a quick explainer from the Los Angeles Times.
Musk is aiming to develop a micron-sized device that will link brain with computer and could come to market by 2021. If all goes as planned, the device will feel like “part of you” and will be fully integrated into the brain.
This device could have a huge impact: it could help treat brain injuries.
Musk explained its practical applications.
“It could help with people who are quadriplegics or paraplegics by providing a neural shunt from the motor cortex down to where the muscles are activated,” he said. “It can help with people who, as they get older, have memory problems and can’t remember the names of their kids, through memory enhancement, which could allow them to function well to a much later time in life—the medically advantageous elements of this for dealing with mental disablement of one kind or another, which of course happens to all of us when we get old enough, are very significant.
Does this freak you out? Musk says people today are already “cyborgs.”
“You’re already a different creature than you would have been 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” he said. “I think people—they’re already kind of merged with their phone and their laptop and their applications and everything.”
This technology is also Musk’s attempt to combat the potentially dangerous applications of artificial intelligence (AI).
Musk believes regulatory approval will slow down the timeline, but it’s coming soon. It could be available to people without medical need in the next 8-10 years.