After removing the humans from behind the steering wheels, Elon Musk now has his eyes set on connecting human brains to the computers. In the next two years, Musk's startup Neuralink is hoping to fully develop a system that will help paralysed humans to control electronic devices like TVs and computers. Musk is hoping to eventually merge people with AI.
The idea of connecting human brains and the machines isn't completely new. The first such attempt was made in 2006 with BrainGate at Brown University in the US. The process of connecting man and the machine include an invasive and a non-invasive method. The former involves an implant that directly touches the human brain and the latter involves electrodes placed near the human skin. As per the reports, Musk has decided to go the non-invasive way and his startup has prepared a chip comprising of an arrangement of up to 96 small, polymer threads, each with up to 32 electrodes that can be set into the brain via robot and a 2 millimeter incision.
"The threads are about the same size as a neuron," Musk said. "If you're going to stick something in your brain, you want it to be tiny - approximately on par with the things that are already there."
The electrodes will not only write information signals into the brain but also read signals from the human brain. The technology in the brain can be used to bring back a sense of touch or vision.
"Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interfaces where we can achieve a sort of symbiosis with AI," Musk said. It is a big step forward for Musk who is a known AI pessimist. In 2014, he had called AI humanity's "biggest existential threat" and compared it to "summoning the demon."
Neuralink has the potential to influence the evolution of the human race if the society decides to embrace AI. The challenges, at the moment are manifold as such a technology will have to pass through the regulators and be less noxious and more palatable for the society.
"We hope to have this, aspirationally, in a human patient by the end of this year. So it's not far," Musk said. He acknowledged, though, that approval from the US Food and Drug Administration "is quite difficult."
Edited By: Udit Verma