Elon Musk Unveils First Working Prototype Of His Neuralink Brain Chip
As promised, tech mogul Elon Musk gave the world a first look at his controversial new brain chip on Friday, August 28.
Vowing to blow everyone’s minds, the centbillionaire described the new device as like a ‘Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires,’ claiming it would one day be able to cure everything, from blindness to quadriplegia.
To show the development of the device, Musk introduced a pig named Gertrude, who he claimed had been implanted with the small computer.
Check out footage from the announcement here:
‘We have a healthy and happy pig, initially shy but obviously high energy and, you know, kind of loving life, and she’s had the implant for two months,’ he said during a livestream from Neuralink’s YouTube page.
The entrepreneur founded Neuralink in 2016, with the idea of creating a wireless brain chip, which scientists hope will be able to cure a number of neurological conditions and allow people with paralysis to control a computer. Then, last year, Musk revealed his design for implanting tiny electrode ‘threads’ into the brain, in addition to another device behind the ear.
The device unveiled on Friday appeared much smaller and much slicker, as it does not require the visible ear device and would be implanted in the brain by a surgical robot under local anaesthetic.
Musk also brought a second pig, called Dorothy, onto the livestream, explaining she also had one of the devices implanted, but it was later removed.
‘What Dorothy illustrates is that you can put in the Neuralink, remove it, and be healthy, happy and indistinguishable from a normal pig,’ he explained.
While this appeared to be true on the face of it, Musk didn’t actually offer up any specific science or data to back it up.
Although the majority of the brain chip’s functions appear to be aimed at medical application, Musk also stressed that he hopes the devices will help human intelligence compete with artificial intelligence, which he considers to be an ‘existential threat’.
He spoke about the ambitious potential capabilities of the device, such as playing video games, summoning a Tesla, or even allowing someone with a severed spinal cord to be able to walk.
At the moment, Neuralink employs around 100 people, though Musk claimed that could soon be as many as 10,000 as the company’s work develops. Neuralink has raised more than $150 million in funding so far, including $100 million from the tech mogul himself.
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