Elon Musk has emerged as the face of modern technology in the past decade. His Tesla electric car company has just been labeled the most valuable car company in the world, while his SpaceX company continues to modernize space travel with aims at putting the first man on Mars sometime in our near future. It seems Musk’s single-handed quest to rapidly change humanity's evolution and bring us closer to the future doesn’t stop there.
Elon Musk’s new brain computer interface company, Neuralink, has finally revealed their latest technology project which promises to shake up the world. In a report on Wait But Why, Tim Urban goes over some of the insights from his recent meeting with Elon Musk and the Neuralink team in San Francisco. The report goes into great detail about Musk’s new Neuralink company and where the technology fits in with humanity. If you want a quick overview then here’s what you need to know in a nutshell.
Brain computer interfaces are not a new concept and have already been used for some things like communication with paralyzed hospital patients. Simply put, a BCI enables people to use their mind and thoughts to interact with a computer and perform certain tasks. The Neuralink team are working on a BCI that will enable humanity to communicate brain to brain rather than smartphone to smartphone.
Neuralink Adds Another Layer To Your Brain
Your brain has two primary “layers” known as the limbic system and the cortex. The limbic system controls areas like your behavior, emotions, and memory. The cortex deals with complex thinking, organizing, and planning. The Neuralink interface will effectively be a third layer that works with the limbic and cortex. Musk see's a world where the Neuralink BCI can be used to make us smarter and keep up with the progress of Artifical Intelligence.
We already have a digital tertiary layer in a sense, in that you have your computer or your phone or your applications…The thing that people, I think, don’t appreciate right now is that they are already a cyborg ... If you leave your phone behind, it’s like missing limb syndrome. I think people—they’re already kind of merged with their phone and their laptop and their applications and everything.
Neuralink will aim to effectively cut out the middleman and enable thoughts and messages to be transmitted directly from brain to brain via the BCI. It’s a creepy thought thinking someone has access to your brain, but Musk explains the process will be controlled and people won’t be able to read your mind at will. According to Musk, to use the interface to communicate you’ll really have to ‘will it’ to happen, just like when you go to pick up your phone or open the fridge and grab a beer.
When Can We Expect To See Neuralink
Behind the scenes, Musk has gathered a super team of 8 people with backgrounds from MIT, Duke, and IBM. The super brains were hand picked by Musk from around 1000 people he interviewed before decided on his best team. The team consists of chip designers, engineers, and neurosurgeons, all working together to bring Elon Musk’s new BCI vision to reality.
Musk says that Neuralink’s first product is expected to be released in about four years, and will aim to help people suffering from severe brain injuries such as strokes. It might be around eight years before we see a product that will transform everyday people into a walking telepathic supercomputers.