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NeuraLink: Discover Elon Musk’s Project to Fuse Humans and Machines

5 minuteminutos readde lectura
Gabriela Patrón
ByPor Gabriela Patrón

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An idea that seems like the plot of a science fiction movie could be the next step of our evolution: a brain-machine interface. 

Elon Musk keeps surprising the world, presenting another new idea to make humanity stronger.  The multi-millionaire was made famous by Tesla, his automotive business that creates electric cars. By this means, he was able to reduce 4 tonnes of CO2 in the environment, in addition to offering other clean-energy solutions and the use of solar panels. 

After using his SpaceX business to push for space exploration and colonization of planets like Mars, the South African proposed another hit for humanity: expand the limits of our brain. 

He, therefore, in 2017, decided to support NeuraLink, a startup that remained in the shadows– until now. Its final objective is to connect the human brain to machines. Here, we tell you more about this innovative project.

NeuraLink: is it possible to “hack” the brain?

The idea to connect people and machines isn’t new, and is known in the technological world as “brain hacking.” The multi-millionaires startup looks to create a brain-machine interface through flexible threads, as thin as a human hair, so as not to damage the brain. These have up to “3,072 electrodes per connected set, over 96 subprocesses.” All of these are linked to a device placed on the side of the head, behind the ears. Musk also announced the “sewing machine,” which will join these threads to the brain without damaging the blood vessels. 

The objective is to use the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to expand the brain’s limits, and thus reach higher capacities. It’s worth noting that Elon Musk has a dark view of humanity’s future. In various interviews, he has declared that, if humanity doesn’t control AI, we will end up submerged in a Matrix-like simulation. The tycoon assured that “even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind.”  That’s why I believe that, with a high bandwidth brain/machine interface, we will have the option to go along for the ride.”

Human/Machine Symbiosis: The next step of evolution?

Until now, the project’s testing has been successful with animals.  In order to pass with human subjects, the tests will focus on patients with neurological disorders. For example, a patient with physical disabilities could use a machine to communicate through cerebral impulses, thus gaining a higher quality of life.  

Eventually, the project would aim to connect people to electronic machines like computers and smartphones.  By this means, humans would be able to write emails, surf the web, and send text messages using their minds. And in a not-so-distant future, we could even recreate one of the most iconic Matrix scenes: just as Neo learns martial arts in a matter of minutes, simply by downloading a program to his brain; NeuraLink could aid in learning a language or programming skills, in no time at all. 

What are the risks implied?

Any electronic equipment capable of connection is at once susceptible to being hacked and modified. According to Musk’s statement, Neuralink could be connected to a smartphone through  Bluetooth. This, therefore, implies a risk, if some hacker or cybercriminal decides to create malicious software to alter with this connection.

The most probable means for this technology to prosper exists in the strengthening 5G connection and in Cloud backup. It’s possible for someone to meddle in all of our brains’ information and processes if there isn’t a cipher or firewall protection similar to that which exists on our computers.  Even large technology companies are likely to look for processed information, in order to send advertisements directly to our brains.

Although all this may sound wild, NeuraLink technology still exists in its experimental phases. The human brain features incredible complexity that machines, even with AI, still don’t have the capacity to match. Therefore, we might still be a few years off from hearing about an advanced brain-machine interface. 

Watch Neuralink´s launching video here.