To be honest, the whole thing is a little creepy.
While the rest of us have been working on losing pandemic pounds, meditating, crafting, making masks, and trying to figure out life, Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk has been putting computer chips inside the brains of pigs.
Described by Musk as a “Fitbit in your skull”, Musk is working on a new technology called Neuralink, which is also the name of his startup company that is making and testing the neural implants. The pig was revealed in a demonstration last week by Musk. He first introduced the project back in 2016 and has been relatively secretive about it—though, in 2019, he did show photographs of a rat with a Neuralink device connected to it by USB-C port.
Musk says the U.S Food and Drug Administration granted him approval in July for testing on the “breakthrough device.” Musk demonstrated the new technology, showing a pig’s brain activity via the implant in a live-streamed presentation on YouTube:
Musk also shared another second-generation implant, one designed to be placed in a small cavity hollowed out inside the skull. Small electrode thread-like structures then probe the outer layer of the brain, detecting electrical currents. The threads are designed to communicate with those electrical signals. The implant is connected through Bluetooth to an outside device and charged wirelessly through the skin.
The Neuralink project was started with a medical goal in mind; to aid patients with brain and spinal cord injuries, as well as congenital defects and disabilities and help people who are paralyzed to move again or give back feeling in their limbs.
"If you can sense what people want to do with their limbs, you can do a second implant where the spinal injury occurred and create a neural shunt," Musk said. "I'm confident in the long term it'll be possible to restore somebody's full-body motion."
Musk’s vision does not stop with medical uses, however, he envisions one day connecting individual AI to people’s brains, backing up their memories, and possibly increasing one’s own senses.
We have to admit, this is all bordering on the bizarre. Does the idea of implanting computer chips in a pig or human brain, or any other kind of brain totally freak you out? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.