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Elon Musk's Neuralink to detail progress in computer-brain interface



  Researchers affiliated with Elon Musk's Neuralink startup have proposed a sewing machine-like system to implant flexible electrodes to establish a communication link between brains and computers.

Researchers affiliated with Elon Musk's Neuralink startup have proposed a sewing machine-like system to implant flexible electrodes to establish a communication link between brains and computers.


Timothy L Hanson, Camilo A Diaz-Botia, Viktor Kharazia, Michel M Maharbiz, Philip N Sabes

Neuralink, Elon Musk's fourth and least visible company, has become a little less secretive today with a life-stream presentation about its technology to connect computers directly to human brains. Neuralink accepted applications from some people to attend the San Francisco event to hear "a little about what we've been working for over the past two years," but the rest of us can post online at 8:00 am. PT.

The conference is streamed live on NeuraLink's YouTube channel.

A New York Times report published July 16 describes the ambitious project in which NeuraLink describes its system which they hope to begin testing on humans in the first half of 2020.

Neuralink, founded in 2016, works in a way to let people's brains communicate directly with computers. The goals include fast transfer rates and quick responses, but just establishing a connection and finding out how to exchange useful information presents tremendous challenges.

A possible approach involves a number of flexible probes inserted into the brain with a system similar to a sewing machine, an idea described by researchers allegedly associated with Neuralink. It's much rougher than the organically grown nanotechnological neural cords you find in the sci-fi signs brain, but it is noteworthy that technology is still under discussion.

Musk founded the company in an effort to give people a performance edge when dealing with the arrival of artificial intelligence – a technology he sees as a existential threat to the race. The challenges are enormous, but when it comes to developing technology, making it practical and affordable, and convincing people, it is safe and desirable.

Pause for a moment and consider the idea of ​​"consensual telepathy", because if you can communicate directly with a computer, this computer can communicate directly with another's brain-coupled machine.


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In an era dominated by technological giants who have succeeded through hardware, software and services, Musk looks like an entrepreneur who has the opportunity for other parts of the physical world – things like electricity, rocks and gravity.

Musk is pretty busy. He has Tesla, who makes electric cars and trucks, massive electric batteries and sunroof. He has SpaceX, which launches satellites – including its own set to deliver internet service – and works on rockets to get people to orbit Mars and the other side of the earth. Then there is the Boring Company, which tries to create tunnels to alleviate traffic on common roads.

Neuralink brings the more complex area of ​​biology into the Musken look. Human brains are quickly difficult to understand, but computer scientists at companies like Facebook and Google are rapidly evolving to simulate some of the ways they work on technology called neural networks, the most practical and promising basis for today's artificial intelligence work. One of the most useful aspects of this study is to make computers understand people better by treating human speech.

How Neuralink will develop is unclear, but certainly many of us will welcome a replacement for keyboards. For an overview of the broader implications, a good starting point is the 2017 Wait But Why exploration written with Musk's input.

Neuralink could not be reached for comments.

First published July 12.
Update, July 15: Adds details of the event's life stream.
Update, July 16: Adds live stream link, NEW report


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