Neuralink, the breakthrough technology that was kept highly secretive until 2018, is finally out in the open. At the end of last month (August 2020), Elon Musk, founder, updated about the progress of the tech in a live webcast.
Found in 2016, Neuralink Corporation is an American neurotechnology company that develops penetrable BMIs or Brain-Machine Interfaces.
The device most certainly pushes the boundaries of neural engineering and science’s tryst with the human brain. Imagine controlling a computer or any device, from anywhere – with just your brain. That is one of the visions Musk is trying to achieve with Neuralink.
Neuralink can also be seen as one of the many cutting-edge technologies that describes Musk’s view of the future. Musk’s other ventures are Tesla (cutting-edge electric automobiles), SpaceX (space exploration), The Boring Company (underground tunnel roads), Hyperloop, and OpenAI.
One may definitely see the common factor that touches each of these ventures. They all explore the possibilities of a lifestyle that more or less belongs to the future.
Looking inside Neuralink
The device is divided into 2 sections: Link and Neural Threads.
Link is a coin-sized cylindrical disc. Neural threads are a small length of micron-scale wires attached to the link. These micron-scale threads are inserted into the areas of the brain that control movement.
Link is the area where all the processing, controlling, and transmission would be occurring when neural threads detect signals in the brain.
These threads on the link are too fine for a human hand to implant. Hence, the company designed another robotic system that neurosurgeons can use to successfully insert the threads in their designated brain areas.
The Neuralink app
That’s the first step to understanding how you can control your devices with your mind instead of hands. The Neuralink app, initially built only for iOS, will allow you to control your device’s keyboard, mouse, and other functions just by thinking about them.
Where Musk seems to be going with this
Musk has been more blunt about the threats AI poses than any other futuristic right now.
According to him, “At least when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there will be no death – it would live forever. And then you will have an immortal dictator from which we could never escape.”
In a 2018 documentary, “Do You Trust This Computer?”, Musk referenced that if humanity ever develops a “god-like superintelligence,” the AI will rule over us for eternity.
Neuralink, in essence, could be seen as Musk trying to keep the switch over AI in our own hands while there is still time.
Will Neuralink cure disability?
That’s a tough one, but a proposition as such is highly likely. Diseases such as disability, Parkinson’s, etc., are all neurological conditions. If a device can reinstate those sections of the brain, which causes these disorders, one can definitely hope for the best.
However, it is too soon to make any bold predictions related to the capabilities of Neuralinks and what it can achieve with the human body.