Entrepreneur says brain chip will 'ultimately achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence'
'Elon Musk‘s secretive neurotechnology startup Neuralink has made its first major public announcement, revealing flexible “threads” designed to link a human brain directly to a computer.
The technology is aimed at helping paraplegics control computers through implantable devices in their brain, and could one day vastly improve the way humans think and communicate.
Speaking at an event in San Francisco, Mr Musk said the chip will help “preserve and enhance your own brain” and “ultimately achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence”.
The serial entrepreneur’s previous ventures include revolutionising online payments with PayPal, transforming the electric car industry through Tesla, and pioneering private space travel through SpaceX. But it is his work with the mysterious Neuralink that is arguably the most ambitious.
The billionaire polymath founded the neurotechnology startup in order to put humans on a level with computers and ultimately counter what many perceive to be the existential risk posed by artificial intelligence.
“After solving a bunch of brain-related diseases... it will create a well-aligned future,” he said.
During the presentation, Mr Musk appeared to accidentally reveal that the system was already being tested on a monkey, which had "controlled a computer using its brain".
Very few details have previously been given about the project, though since it was founded in 2016 by Mr Musk has frequently alluded to its goal of building an “ultra-high bandwidth” to connect a human brain to a computer.
Such technology is needed for humans to keep up with the rapid advancements of artificial intelligence, he claims. If it isn’t built, Mr Musk believes humans could fall so far behind that machines eventually view humans in the same way humans currently view house pets.
Speaking about this idea at a tech conference in 2016, he said: “I don’t love the idea of being a house cat, but what’s the solution? I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer.”'
Read more: Elon Musk unveils Neuralink 'threads' that connect brains to computers