WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Cortical implants and Brain Machine Interfaces have come along way in just a few years, now Elon Musk says soon you won’t need your ears to hear the music …
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Elon Musk announced a long time ago that he wanted to connect humans directly with Artificial Intelligence (AI), which, bearing in mind advances in creating human hive minds is impressive, so he founded Neuralink who began developing an implantable Brain Machine Interface (BMI) which, as it turned out would be autonomously implanted into patients brains by robot.
Now, a couple of years after its founding and about a year after it showed off its basic prototype, the company have announced that their new BMI will also allow wearers to stream music directly to their brain. Personally I thought that’s what ears are for but hey, as a futurist it gives me stuff to write about …
Musk, who also heads SpaceX and Tesla, has said he “will reveal new information” about the mysterious startup next month but has been slowly releasing details over Twitter in recent days.
Responding to computer scientist Austin Howard Musk confirmed that Neuralink’s technology would allow people to “listen to music directly from our chips,” by which he meant the BMI chip in people’s brains. He also said that Neuralink “could help control hormone levels and use them to our advantage (enhanced abilities and reasoning, anxiety relief, etc.).”
Musk also said that the first patients to use the technology will be people suffering from brain diseases like Parkinson’s, while reiterating that the ultimate aim of Neuralink is to allow humans to compete with advanced AI.
The process of having the chip fitted will be similar to Lasik laser eye surgery, he added. One part of it will involve a neurosurgical robot, which fits flexible “threads” into the brain connected to a tiny implantable computer chip.
A research paper detailing the device claims that a single USB-C cable will provide “full-bandwidth data streaming” to the brain.
At the moment Neuralink has 11 job postings listed on its website, offering roles for a mechanical engineer, a robotics software engineer, and a “histology technician,” and over the weekend Musk made a request for people with specific expertise in wearables.
“If you’ve solved hard problems with phones/ wearables (sealing, signal processing, inductive charging, power management, etc.), please consider working at [Neuralink],” he tweeted.
Earlier this month, Musk hinted that Neuralink’s chip will be able to cure depression and addiction by “retraining” the parts of the brain responsible for these afflictions.
Trials have already been carried out on animals and human trials were originally scheduled to take place this year, though details are yet to be made public, but more information is set to be announced next month.