Elon Musk has demonstrated his company Neuralink’s brain-computer interface for the first time. On Friday, Neuralink unveiled prototypes of its device and showed off pigs with the coin-sized wireless devices implanted in their brains.
“We’re not trying to raise money or do anything else, but the main purpose is to convince great people to come work at Neuralink, and help us bring the product to fruition — make it affordable and reliable and such that anyone who wants one can have one,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said.
Musk brought three pigs to the demonstration. One pig was untreated, the second had been installed with a Neuralink device called the “Link” for two months. The third pig previously had one device installed but then removed in order to show the safety and replaceability of the technology.
Musk notes such chips could eventually be used to help cure conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries.
But the long-term ambition is to usher in an age of what Mr. Musk calls “superhuman cognition,” in part to combat artificial intelligence so powerful he says it could destroy the human race.
Musk also announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded Neuralink a “breakthrough device authorization” which can help expedite research on a medical device.
The first clinical trial will focus on individuals with paraplegia or tetraplegia, resulting from cervical spinal cord injury.
As its name implies, Neuralink’s technology focuses on the roles of neuron activities. The group’s long-term goal of obtaining human symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI) begins by connecting electrodes throughout the brain and reading its neuron signals en masse, reports CNBC.
Founded in 2016, Neuralink is funded primarily by Elon Musk to develop a new kind of interface technology between the human brain and computing devices.