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Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to hook your brain up to computers

Posted: 28 March 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink.

The company is still in the early stages of existence and has no public presence but is being backed by billionaire Musk according to The Wall Street Journal. Neuralink is centred on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, eventually, these could help humans merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence.

Registered as a medical research firm, the startup will develop “neural lace” technology which would implant tiny electrodes into the brain. These enhancements could improve memory or give humans additional AI capabilities but Neuralink’s first products could involve using implants to treat disorders like epilepsy or major depression.

According to WSJ, leading academics in the field have been signed up to work at the company, specialists envision a time when humans may be able to upload and download thoughts.

In a tweet on Tuesday evening Musk confirmed the existence of Neuralink and said more details will be made public next week via WaitButWhy. Musk wrote that it would be “difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to”.

Musk has previously warned against the dangers of artificial intelligence advancing beyond human capabilities and the concept for Neuralink is not entirely new.

At Recode’s 2016 conference, he spoke publicly about a need for some sort of “neural lace” to enable direct human/computer interfacing.

“I don’t love the idea of being a house cat,” Musk said at the conference. “I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer … A third, digital layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you.”

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