Elon Musk has taken a huge step towards his goal of curing memory loss and spinal cord injuries after live testing his latest brain implant technology. The incredible test of the groundbreaking brain implant came during a Neuralink livestream featuring Musk himself. He showcased the latest developments of his neuroscience startup Neuralink which hopes to cure conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries.
The billionaire entrepreneur has previously said he ultimately plans to use the technology to “fuse humanity with artificial intelligence”.
The eccentric businessman took a huge step toward this aim after revealing that coin-sized computer chips had already been implanted into the brains of three pigs.
He said the “three little pigs” with implants are “healthy, happy and indistinguishable from a normal pig”.
The incredible Neuralink technology is able to predict the animals’ limb movements during treadmill runs at “high accuracy” using the implant data.
Elon Musk has taken a huge step towards curing memory loss and spinal cord injuries
The incredible Neuralink technology is able to predict the animals’ limb movements during treadmill runs at “high accuracy” using the implant data
Mr Musk claimed the sensor – smaller than a fingertip – was like “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”.
He cryptically added: “I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t know. Maybe I do.”
Video of the tests showed a pig named Gertrude, who had a Neuralink implant in the part of its brain that controls the snout.
The test showed huge spikes on a graph tracking the animal’s neural activity after Gertrude started eating.
The test showed huge spikes on a graph tracking the animal’s neural activity after Gertrude started eating
Mr Musk said: “We have a healthy and happy pig, initially shy but obviously high energy and, you know, kind of loving life, and she’s had the implant for two months.”
He also showed off a pig with two implants in its brain, and also a pig that previously had an implant.
After discussing issues like memory loss, hearing loss, depression and insomnia, Mr Musk said: “An implantable device can actually solve these problems.”
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Musk claimed the sensor – smaller than a fingertip – was like “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”
His chief medical surgeon added that Neuralink’s first clinical trials with human patients would be aimed at treating paralysis.
The billionaire, who has previously warned about the dangers of AI, said that the implant would eventually lead to “some kind of AI symbiosis where you have an AI extension of yourself”.
Graeme Moffat, a University of Toronto neuroscience research fellow, said Neuralink’s advancements were “order of magnitude leaps” beyond current science.
Stanford University neuroscientist Sergey Stavisky said the company had made huge progress since their initial demonstration in July 2019.
He said: “Going from that to the fully implanted system in several pigs they showed is impressive and, I think, really highlights the strengths of having a large multidisciplinary team focused on this problem.”