What if you could connect your brain with artificial intelligence and also speak telepathically to the people around you? It sounds crazy, right?
Elon Musk has a lot of crazy ideas that he’s bringing to reality from Tesla to SpaceX to, now, Neuralink. Neuralink is a massive undertaking, even for a billionaire CEO known for his ability to bring ideas that sound far-fetched into the real-world.
Although the exact mechanisms of functioning haven’t been defined yet, the overarching concept of Neuralink is this:
Invent “micron-sized devices” that enable brain-machine interaction for the purpose of communication not only from human to human but to assist in a merge with artificial intelligence. Essentially, Musk is trying to “increase bandwidth” of communication, in one sense. But the real kicker about Neuralink’s goal is that it is an attempt to circumvent language which is seen as a sort of “thought compression.”
With Neuralink, the goal is to be able to communicate concepts at the truly conceptual level–directly–without the need to speak or even translate thoughts into language, from human to human and human to machine.
This lack of specific technical information has caused many scientists and researchers to decline to comment on the possibility of the technology.
As CNBC mentions, this is not the first time Elon Musk has hinted towards ideas like merging man and machine, and has been cited speaking about such concepts as the merge of biological and digital intelligence well before the launch of Neuralink. We’ve also heard him speak of something called “neural lace” several times.
Musk is looking at the grand picture for humanity with this project, as he does with most of his undertakings. With Neuralink, Musk is trying to create a “counter for Skynet,” as one of his Twitter followers, Juan Carlos, put it. Musk himself replied, “That is the aspiration: to avoid AI becoming other.”
“That is the aspiration: to avoid AI becoming other.”
As we discussed in a recent post about Facebook’s techno-dream of 100WPM brain-typing interfaces, the technology behind these concepts doesn’t exist at the levels required to make this happen just yet.
With the amount of money behind both Elon Musk and Facebook, we may see some startlingly quick innovation in brain sensing hardware, but, in Neuralink’s case, we are also looking at the time it will take for a neural implant to get through clinical trials.
The disruptive networking and record-keeping technology, blockchain, is speeding up clinical trials as we discussed in our article here, but that still may not allow Musk to hit his desired timeline of 8–10 years.
Antonio Regalado of the MIT Technology Review points out that many new brain interface technologies have entered at least the “blueprint stage” in recent years, including neural dust which involves, as he puts it, “injecting the brain with thousands of tiny silicon motes able to record and transmit information using acoustic vibrations.” Even with his expansive knowledge of disruptive biotechnologies, Mr. Regalado is unconvinced that either Musk or Facebook’s telepathy tech will be hitting the public in the timelines they suggest.
He is only one of many who are thoroughly skeptical of the new telepathy craze, at least in the scope of less than a decade.
What about you? Do you think we’ll see such complex and accurate brain-machine interfaces in the next ten years? Let us know in the comments below!