Elon Musk, renowned entrepreneur and CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has just announced his newest innovative venture. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that Musk has started a new company dedicated to exploring the capabilities of technology and the brain.
Neuralink, the new company, will focus on developing “neural lace” technology that could bridge the gap between man and machine. The technology will involve surgically implanting electrodes into the brain that will allow unimpeded human to computer communication. Musk hopes to boost the capabilities of the human mind while also guarding against a Terminator style machine takeover that would make humans “house cats” to artificial intelligence. His concern regarding AI has been well recorded on Twitter, featuring comments like, “[AI is] potentially more dangerous than nukes.”
Musk has been expressing his interest in neural lace technology since 2016 where he first described the potential of the technology at Vox Media’s Code Conference and later on Twitter.
It sounds farfetched, but Musk is no stranger to lofty goals. From colonizing Mars to ultra-high-speed trains, the visionary entrepreneur is well aware that his goals may be out of reach for now. As a result, Neuralink will also focus on the potential for neural lace technology to be used for analyzing and possibly treating chronic diseases. The strong brain to computer connection made possible by the technology could lead to breakthroughs in conditions like epilepsy, severe depression, and Parkinson’s.
These more realistic goals will pave the way for Neuralink to gain approval for development and human testing. Musk has taken a similar route with many of his companies. Both Tesla and SpaceX have highly ambitious goals but are currently focusing on more attainable, short-term milestones. The current line of Tesla cars and the recent rocket launches conducted by SpaceX are steps towards achieving their respective goals of mass-produced long-range electric vehicles and colonizing Mars.
Ultimately, Neuralink’s lofty goals will likely not be realized in the near future, but its technology will certainly offer new insights into artificial intelligence, the potential of the human brain, and treatment for the chronic neurological conditions of today.