Elon Musk Says He’s Wired Up A Monkey’s Brain To Play Video Games
Elon Musk has given a rare update on his brain chip start-up Neuralink, claiming that the company has put an implant in a monkey that lets it play video games.
The SpaceX and Tesla CEO confirmed yesterday, January 31, that Neuralink had successfully performed a procedure on the animal to place a wireless implant in its skull, allowing it to ‘play video games with his mind’.
Wiring a monkey up so you can watch it play Cyberpunk might seem like a bit of a madcap experiment, but it’s the kind of thing you can do on a whim if you’re one of the world’s richest people. Musk revealed the news during an appearance on the audio-only social media app Clubhouse, in which he discussed a number of his wide-ranging current projects, crashing the invite-only platform in the process.
Possibly mindful that putting implants in unsuspecting animals might not go down too well with some people, Musk also reassured listeners that the monkey was living his best life, saying ‘he’s a happy monkey,’ and adding, ‘We have the nicest monkey facilities in the world. We want them to play mind-Pong with each other,’ Bloomberg reports.
Neuralink previously made headlines in summer last year when Musk unveiled a pig named Gertrude that had been implanted with a brain chip. That experiment appeared to be largely limited to proving it was possible to place an implant in an animal without harming it; however, if Musk’s claims are to be believed, this video game-playing monkey could show that Neuralink’s implants can actually be used to alter brain function.
Musk was also keen to stress that the startup has far more serious ambitions than just doing away with the need for video game controllers. Neuralink is one of a number of companies working on developing brain implant technology, which it is hoped will eventually help to reduce or even reverse the impact of neurological and spinal injuries. Musk also repeated his claim that Neuralink’s implants will go further than current devices that leave ‘wires sticking out of your head,’ instead describing it as ‘like a Fitbit in your skull’.
With no studies or technical specifications published yet to back up Neuralink’s animal experiments, at the moment we’re all just going to have to take Elon Musk’s word for it that these chips actually work, although he has said that videos showing the monkey in action should be released in the coming weeks.
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