Elon Musk’s 4-year old foundation Neuralink has announced many hard to believe commitments like curing paralysis, mental illness, hearing by implanting brain-machine interfaces developed by their firm. Many researchers scoff at this as there is no strong evidence or real implementation of their commitments. Many seem to be unlikely ever to get accomplished.
Despite its well-known background, Neuralink succeeded in creating a buzz among the audience by its latest “product update” streamed-live on youtube. Here are the few highlights of the newest video on Neuralink brain implant for you to decide whether Neuralink has done any justice to its commitment or its again just the fame game. Earlier we have covered Neuralink from Elon musk, What we know so far.
Highlights of the latest Live demonstration conducted by Musk
The video started with the Musk, the owner of SpaceX and Tesla, standing beside a beaming updated version of a sewing machine robot. The machine was initially designed to plunge electrodes in the brain to measure electrical signals created by neurons. These signals were the basis to know the thoughts of the human mind.
Using these sewing machines, Musk had promised to develop a solution that can help paralyzed people to operate a computer. Point to note is that Musk falsely claimed that they had invented this technology. Still, the fact is, the research team long ago implemented it at the University of Pittsburgh to control a robotic arm by paralyzed people.
I think Musk follows the principle of first making elusive promises and then make efforts to hire researchers to flat out his ambiguous goals. The demo was scheduled to give product updates, but it looked like Musk’s priority was to pique technologists’ interest and join them in his team. We will discuss further the matrix theory, which was the demonstration’s primary purpose
The Matrix in the Matrix theory
This theory was the center of attraction for the thousands of Musk’s fans. Three pigs were used to explain this concept. Out of these three pigs, one pig had the implantation in the brain, one didn’t have any implantation done, and the last one, named Gertrude, had the implantation done from 2 months without any issues. These pigs had the hidden speaker which made a beep sound every time it snuggled.
Musk claims that these recordings were the sound of neurons firing in real from Gertrude’s brain activity every time it tried to sniff the pan though there was no evidence for it.
This explanation somehow didn’t amuse neuroscientists as electronic impulses generated from the animal brain’s neurons are the decade-old invention.
After the pig’s brain activity demo, Musk also showed the video where the pig was running on the treadmill, stimulating neurons and lighting up the different brain parts. By this, Musk wants us to believe that their Neuralink device can help predict the limb’s exact position.
Everything you should know about the ‘Link.’
Musk was holding a circular device, which he mentioned as “the link.” It can transmit and receive brain signals wirelessly.
The idea behind this:
Whenever we do an activity like raising arms, moving head, and so on, electrical spikes generate in our brain. According to the Neuralink, these electric spikes can be read and recorded. So they have come up with the implantable brain coin-like chip specially designed to receive neuron signals.
Few astonishing specifications of the brain implantation chip disclosed during the live streaming are:
- It has 1024 channels per link.
- It is 23mm * 8mm thick, which is close to brain skull size.
- It has 6-axis IMU, temperature, pressure, etc.
- Megabit wireless data rate post-compression.
- All-day battery life.
- It will have wireless charging.
- It can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth.
- It would have both read-out and write-in capabilities.
Elon Musk went on explaining the pie in the sky things like
This chip can be directly implanted in the brain using sanitized surgery with a surgical robot’s help.
This surgery will take not more than an hour and would be completely safe. Musk believes that a very smoothly and effortlessly coin-shaped skull can be removed and replaced by the chip inside the brain that too in a couple of thousand dollars.
The link has microscopic threads that can help to connect with neurons directly and receive electrical signals.
Check these future commitments discussed in the demo.
Musk, along with his team, answered a few questions posted on Twitter and asked by the small group of audience present while the demonstrations. He gave some future commitments which can let your imaginations run wild like:
- The breakthrough device designation consent from the Food and Drug Administration can lead a way to hold experiments to cure paraplegia and tetraplegia using a brain implantation chip.
- Wait! They didn’t stop here and discussed the possibilities of treating blindness, paralysis, hearing issues, and overcoming mental disorders like depression and anxiety issues with this tiny chip’s help.
- There was also talks about connecting the chip to the head display, and you can walk around like a terminator.
- Some basic ideas like telepathy, replantation of memory via this brain interface were also discussed.
- The most jaw-dropping thing was connecting your brain and uploading it into a robot. Yes! You have heard the right thing. Musk said. “This is obviously sounding increasingly like a Black Mirror episode, everything that is encoded in the memory you could upload or basically store your memories as a backup, and restore the memories, and ultimately you could potentially download them into the new body or into a robot body. The future’s going to be weird.”
Neuralink fails to give any timelines as usual.
The idea is vast, but the Musk gave no specific timelines about when this brain implantation chip will actually be tested on human beings. Neuralink had held such live demos in the previous years also for preprint papers. But could not give any tested full proof solution for it till now. Similarly, Neuralink with the University of California, Davis started a research project of Monkey in 2017 which is still pending and fails to give any strong proof for their theory that monkeys can control computer by their brain.
At the end of the session, Musk admitted that Neuralink has to still pull off many things to practically launch the affordable, reliable brain implant chip and make it available in the market.
At this point, you can’t know how serious the company is for treating diseases as Musk’s focus was continuously on the future of the brain implant device. He wishes that this device would be of great aid when there is a time when the people’s combined thoughts will control the world.