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Elon Musk launched a new company that will turn us all into cyborgs.
The company is called Neuralink, and its goal is to find a way to link the human brain with computers, so we don’t become pets to artificial intelligence, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. It will attempt to accomplish this by creating “neural lace,” or technology that involves implanting tiny electrons that serve as a wireless brain-to-computer interface. This bridge could help treat neurological diseases like epilepsy and depression, and even enhance human cognition by allowing us to download or upload our thoughts to and from a computer.
Musk first described the technology at Vox Media’s Code Conference in 2016, where he said it would help prevent humans from being left behind and turned into “house cats” by AI.
“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,” Musk said. “A third, digital layer that could work well and symbiotically with the rest of your body.”
Musk is privately funding the company, which was registered as a “medical research” firm in California last July. The South African business magnate explained in an interview with Y Combinator that having a high-bandwidth interface to the brain will be one of the biggest developments to influence the future of humanity.
“We are currently bandwidth limited,” he said. “We have a digital, tertiary-self in the form of our e-mail capabilities like computers, phones, applications—we are effectively superhuman, but we are extremely bandwidth constrained in that interface between the cortex and the tertiary digital form of yourself.”
Leading academics and neuroscientists have been brought in to work with Neuralink, according to the Journal. Tesla and Musk has not officially revealed the new company, but tweeted that more news may be coming next week.
@BelovedRevol Maybe next month— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017
Musk isn’t the only one attempting to create a link between our brains and technology. Mission 8, a hardware research division of Facebook, is also creating “brain-computer” interface.
How will this sci-fi inspired product be implemented? Musk at least assured us it won’t involve “chopping your skull off,” and would most likely be implanted into the jugular vein.
Musk is also part of OpenAI, an open-source non-profit formed to make sure AI doesn’t kill us all. Now he has a backup—as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.