What is Neuralink? Elon Musk’s Genius
Elon Musk has a talent for making some of his craziest visions about technology coming to life. Mars Rockets, and so much more. In 2016, he, along with Ben Rapoport, Dongjin Seo, Max Hodak, Paul Merolla and others founded a neurotechnology company. It develops implantable brain chips that will enhance human intelligence.
Uses Of Neuralink
You will be able to communicate with machines and even control them with this chip in your head. It will also be a plus point in studying the electrical signals in the brain and help cure certain diseases. Neuralink’s technology to be clear looks great. A brain implant the size of four dollar coin with more than 1,000 electrodes that might allow a person to send neuroelectrical activity to anything digital.
Funds for the Development of Neuralink
According to various sources, the company has hired several high ranking neuroscientists from top universities all over the world. In June of 2019, it had received 160$ million in funding, 100$ million of that was from Elon Musk. At that time, Neuralink had made an announcement that it was working on a “sewing machine-type” device capable of implanting very thin threads into the brain.
In April 2017, a blog reported that the company was considering making devices to treat serious brain illnesses in the short-term, with the eventual goal of human enhancement, also known as transhumanism. Musk stated that his interest in the idea partly rooted from the science fiction concept of “neural lace” in the fictional universe in The Culture, a series of 10 novels by Iain M. Banks.
The Long Term Goal
Musk defined the neural lace as a “digital layer above the cortex”. That wouldn’t imply extensive surgical insertion but an implant through a vein or artery. He further explained that the long-term goal is to achieve “symbiosis with artificial intelligence”. Which he perceives as an existential threat to humanity if it goes unchecked. As of 2017 some neuroprosthetics can interpret brain signals and allow disabled people to control their prosthetic arms and legs.
Executive council and History of Neuralink Corp
Musk was the owner of Neuralink in September 2018, but didn’t hold an executive position. The CEO, Jared Birchall who has also been listed as CFO and president of Neuralink. As executive of various other companies Musk founded or co-founded, has been described as formal. The “Neuralink” got new owners in January 2017. By August 2020 only a handful of the eight founding scientists remained at the company. According to an article, which reported that Neuralink had seen years of internal conflict. Which has clashed with the slow pace of science.
By 2018, the company had been remaining highly secretive about its work since its launch”, even though public records showed that it had begun to open an animal testing facility in San Francisco.
In July 2019, they held a live streaming of the presentation at the California Academy of Sciences. The proposed future technology involved a module placed outside the head that would receive information from thin flexible electrode threads. The system could include as many as 3,072 electrodes distributed across 96 threads. As Elon described it, “it’s like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.”. A robotic apparatus would embed the threads with the intention to avoid damaging blood vessels.
Neuralink representatives believe that there might be issues that might get mitigated algorithmically but they’re computationally expensive and do not produce exact results.
Just recently, the Neuralink 1024-electrode link device v 0.9 got approval as a FDA breakthrough device which allows it’s usage in limited human testing under the FDA guidelines for testing medical devices. The Neuralink team is looking for materials that’ll resist breaking down and won’t set off the protective response.