Everything You Need To Know About Neuralink - Elon Musk's Ambitious Plan To Turn Humans Into Cyborgs

Aadhya Khatri - Sep 11, 2020


Everything You Need To Know About Neuralink - Elon Musk's Ambitious Plan To Turn Humans Into Cyborgs

Neuralink was first introduced in July 2019 when Musk revealed a project to develop ultra-fine threads weave into your brain to listen to your thoughts

It seems like Elon Musk has all kinds of ideas in his head. The latest news we heard from him is the introduction of Neuralink, a system that allows humans to control machines with their thoughts.

What Is Neuralink?

The idea of Neuralink was first made public in July 2019 when Musk and his team revealed an ambitious project to develop ultra-fine threads that they will weave into your brain to listen to your thoughts.

Neuralink Elon Musk
Musk and his team revealed an ambitious project to develop ultra-fine threads that they will weave into your brain to listen to your thoughts

The company even makes a robot for the complex procedure of getting these threads into the brain with the supervision of a neurosurgeon.

When he found the company in 2016, Musk said he wanted to help humans compete in a world where AIs have shown so many abilities humans can only dream of.

However, before we can get to that future with the help of Neuralink, researchers are more interested in the system’s ability to cure brain-related disorders.

Ever since the project was made public, it has attracted lots of attention from the public as well as experts in various fields. Neuralink Reddit is constantly bursting with questions and discussions on the possibility of the project.

How Does Neuralink Work?

Neuralink features a 4mm-square chip called N1 which will be implanted to users’ skulls. The chip is connected with ultra-fine threads reaching out to the brain.

Neuralink Chip
Neuralink features a 4mm-square chip called N1 which will be implanted to users’ skulls

These threads get close to vital parts of the brain and detect messages when they’re transferred between neurons.

According to the company, each N1 chip can connect to as many as 1,000 different cells and each user can have up to 10 chips in their brain.

These chips connect to a device that the user will wear over their ears featuring a battery and a Bluetooth radio.

The company said their first systems will be implemented via conventional neurosurgery but their ultimate goal is to do so safely and painlessly with the help of the robot surgeon.

What Kind Of Conditions Could Be Treated Using Neuralink Technology?

Before it can give us an upper hand over AIs, the system can be effective for treating neurological disorders, which is caused by the brain’s inability to connect with other nerves in the body, including Parkinson’s and epilepsy disease, as well as quadriplegia and paraplegia.

Does Neuralink Have To Be Stuck Inside My Brain?

Neuralink robot
Robot surgeon to implant the threads and chips

Since the threads need to be close to nerves to pick up signals, within a 60-micron radius otherwise it won’t be able to detect impulses.

What Are The Risks Of Neuralink?

The threads inside the brain need to be flexible and fine in order not to hurt the surrounding tissues of the brain. And if experts want to use Neuralink on patients with existing conditions, they will have to consider the threat associated with operating on people whose immune systems have been compromised.

Musk said implanting the system would be as quick and safe as having laser eye surgery but the company still needs approval from FDA to market the device.

Health risks aren't the only concern here. What we’re going to do with data collected from users? And are there any regulations and laws regarding a device that can record a human’s emotion and thoughts.

So When Could Neuralink Become A Reality?

Musk expressed hope to have the first human trial in 2020 and as it turns out, Neuralink is right on track.

Neuralink human trial
Musk expressed hope to have the first human trial in 2020

The disabled weren’t the only ones who will benefit from the system. Elon Musk hopes that one day, humans can become cyborgs with deep integration with AIs, something he believes to be essential for the existence of our race.

Neuralink Human Trials

The company expects to have its first human trial in the second quarter of 2020. Four 8-millimeter holes will be drilled into the skull of each Neuralink volunteer. Next, the threads will transfer data to a wearable implant behind the person’s ear.

Neuralink News

At this stage, the company needs a living creature to test its technology and it has chosen pigs, lots of them.

The demo was called "The Three Little Pigs" and Musk said the team had successfully implanted the system into the test subjects’ brains.

Neuralink Pigs
The demo was called "The Three Little Pigs"

The company didn’t answer the question of why they picked pigs to test instead of monkeys.

The demo includes three pigs, Gertrude with Neuralink, Joyce without any implant, and Dorothy with implant removed from her brain. Neuralink Elon Musk also showed the public pigs with multiple implants in their brains.

Gertrude was introduced with her brain’s activities displayed in real-time on a screen. In the video, a series of beeps were explained as the neural spikes when Gertrude sniffed the surroundings.

At the time of the demo, the pig has had the implants for two months, according to Musk.

>>> Elon Musk's Neuralink Brain-Chip Will Go Live Tomorrow

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