Tech guru Elon Musk hinted that computers with the ability to connect with human brains will be “coming soon.”
Musk responded to a tweet asking for a status update on Neuralink, a neurotechnology company he founded in 2016, which is reportedly working on such technology. When asked what was going on with the project, the entrepreneur simply replied that it’s “coming soon.”
In 2017, Ars Technica reported that the goal of Neuralink was is to develop hardware to enhance the human brain, through a process he has likened in the past to a “neural lace.”
Musk spoke about the project at the Code Conference in June 2016 and said that a “lace-like appendage” would be “draped over the natural human brain, in one way or another” with the goal being to “artificially boost human capabilities,” CNBC reported.
“You have your limbic system, the cortex, and then a digital layer, sort of a third layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you. “
Musk also said the “lace” would have “some sort of interface with your cortical neurons,” and while it would be more a part of the body than something like a pair of glasses, extensive surgery might not necessarily be performed to connect it with a human brain. He even suggested that the device could be inserted into veins and arteries, calling that particular technique “a complete roadway to all of your neurons.”
— AI Nation (@AI_FutureNation) April 22, 2019
In an interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast last year, Musk explained that his goal with the project was to “create a high bandwidth interface to the brain such that we can be symbiotic with A.I.” He also said that it “would enable anyone who wants to have superhuman cognition.” Basically, it would give people digital intelligence that went way beyond our biological intelligence.
The prospects of such a brain/computer connection will yield all kinds of possibilities, including many advances in the medical field. For example, it could hold promise for curing conditions such as dementia and paralysis.
Not everyone shares Musk’s enthusiasm for this kind of technology. Many experts believe that merging the brain with computers sets humanity up for all kinds of risks — including the possibility that the human/computer interface could become hijacked by some type of rogue artificial intelligence, The Independent reported.
But those fears do not appear to be stopping Musk. In fact, it looks as though he is hiring. Neuralink is currently advertising several job vacancies, including digital designer, IT engineer, senior mechanical engineer, and software engineers.