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Why would anybody want this? Elon Musk is developing a chip that’ll let you stream music directly to your brain.
Musk is a controversial figure, but there’s no doubting his innovation. His Tesla Cybertruck, while heinously ugly to some, is a fairly remarkable feat of engineering, and his work on SpaceX will change the landscape of space travel in years to come.
His latest start-up, Neuralink, which has received more than $158 million in funding, is far more intimate than outer-space passenger travel. It’s developing a brain-computer interface that allegedly has a slew of game-changing benefits, including the ability to stream music straight into your brain.
The tech entrepreneur is set to reveal far more details about Neuralink next month, however small crumbs have been dropped here and there. On Twitter, Musk said it ‘could help control hormone levels and use them to our advantage (enhanced abilities and reasoning, anxiety relief, etc’.
He also confirmed that the mysterious technology would let users ‘listen to music directly from our chips’. How on Earth would that actually work? Well, at a 2019 event, Musk very briefly mentioned it would be ‘sewing machine-like’ device connected directly between a computer and a chip inserted within the brain.
To get it fitted, one would go through a similar process to laser eye surgery. It would involve a ‘neurosurgical robot’ that would fit flexible ‘threads’ inside the brain. Also, according to a 2019 research paper, ‘full-bandwidth data streaming’ will be provided via a USB-C cable.
The potential advantages are rather startling, with Musk saying it has the potential to help people with Parkinson’s, ‘brain injuries/autism/ALS, basically anything requiring brain calibration’, as one Twitter user asked.
As well as solving ‘a lot of brain/spine injuries’, Musk was previously asked if Neuralink could be used to ‘retrain the part of the brain which is responsible for causing addiction or depression’.
He replied: ‘For sure. This is both great and terrifying. Everything we’ve ever sensed or thought has been electrical signals. The early universe was just a soup of quarks and leptons. How did a very small piece of the universe start to think of itself as sentient?’
On July 18, Musk put out a call for people with expertise in wearable technology, tweeting: ‘If you’ve solved hard problems with phones/ wearables (sealing, signal processing, inductive charging, power management, etc.), please consider working at [Neuralink].’
Trials have reportedly been carried out on animals, with plans for human testing to be revealed later this year. More information regarding Neuralink is set to be announced on August 28.
Honestly, just watch Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade.
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