December 1, 2020
Elon Musk: Neuralink brain implant will improve 'bandwidth' of human communication

Elon Musk: Neuralink brain implant will improve ‘bandwidth’ of human communication


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Elon Musk suggested that putting a Neuralink implant in our brains wouldn’t be a huge jump from our current dependence on tech.


Neuralink; screenshot by CNET

Elon Musk‘s Neuralink brain implant is currently being tested in pigs, but the SpaceX and Tesla CEO wants the brain-computer link device to supercharge human communication, he said in an interview with The New York Times published Monday. 

“We’re a 300 baud modem. Very slowly outputting information into our phone or maybe a little bit faster into a computer if you’re using 10 fingers,” he said on the Times’ Sway podcast. “And it’s just very hard to communicate. AI will diverge from us just because it can’t talk to us.”

Since we’re already so attached to our phones, computers and social media accounts, he reasons, putting a Neuralink chip in our brains wouldn’t be a huge change for humanity.


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“It’s like you’re already part electronic, if you think about it. When somebody dies they still have their — these days, their electronic ghost is left around,” he said. “You know, their Instagram, Twitter or whatever. Facebook, their emails, their website — it’s all still there.”

Before it can improve the “bandwidth of our communication,” the device’s initial value will be in treating brain injuries, Musk said. But he noted that the project is still at “a very, very primitive stage.” Before it gets FDA approval, it’ll require intense examination to make sure it doesn’t have any adverse effects and is removable, he said.

During an event in August, Musk showed off Neuralink’s technology, which aims to build a digital link between brains and computers. A wireless link from the Neuralink computing device, which was surgically implanted into the skull of a pig named Gertrude, showed the animal’s brain activity as it snuffled around a pen. Neuralink has a medical focus for now, like helping people deal with brain and spinal cord injuries, but Musk’s long-term vision is more radical. He’s suggested Neuralink could be used for things like “conceptual telepathy” or people connecting to their own digital AI incarnations.



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