Elon Musk wants to implant a computer in the brain by 2020

Neuralink, Elon Musk's company, is ready to implant a chip in the brain to give people with neural problems the chance to live normally

A monkey managed to control a computer with its brain. It's not science fiction but the latest success of Neuralink, one of the many startups in the economic universe headed by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The announcement was made yesterday by Musk himself, during a live presentation on YouTube.

The stated purpose of Neuralink is to implant electronic circuits in the brains of humans, in order to overcome the motor and communication problems of paraplegic patients. At the moment the experimentation on animals is already underway and Musk is convinced to be able to test on humans the first biomedical device by the end of this year or next year. Much also depends on the authorizations that the Food and Drug Administration may grant or deny. Creating an interface between a computer and the human brain, according to Musk, will also lead to better managing the development of artificial intelligence and limiting its risks to humanity.

Millions of electrodes in the brain, thanks to robots

Neuralink's approach relies on thousands of electrodes, about the size of a quarter of a hair (and similar to neurons), being implanted in the brain by a robot. A clump of 1,024 electrodes is connected to a chip, and up to 10 chips are implanted under the skin in the head. The chips connect wirelessly with a wearable device, to be clipped behind the ear (a bit like current devices for the hearing impaired). The electrodes, thanks to the control chips, can "read" neuronal impulses but also "write" new ones to reactivate damaged parts of the cerebral cortex. By coupling this technology with the already existing technology of muscle neurostimulators, it would be possible, even for those with spinal injuries, to move their muscles and return to a normal life.

Symbiosis with AI

If all this sounds like science fiction to you, it's only because you don't yet know what Neuralink's real long-term goal is: to create a layer of artificial superintelligence through a link between the human brain and AI. "Ultimately, we can make a complete brain-machine interface from which we can achieve a kind of symbiosis with artificial intelligence," Musk said. In fact, according to the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink, if not properly managed, artificial intelligence can be a huge risk to humanity and lead us to World War III.