Artificial intelligence continues to advance our society, but many of us fear the idea of A.I. taking over humanity. This is the reason why many individuals have disapproved of Elon Musk’s newest innovation Neuralink; a brain-computer interface, that is implementable in the human brain.
The thought of computers in our brain may seem alarming at first, due to the fact that we think of the worst possible outcomes. In reality, a device like Neuralink could change the lives of many individuals who have to deal with terrible illnesses that cause pain to their lives daily.
Currently, humans have five senses, although the implementation of the Link could give us a sixth; which would be a mind control sense and would improve the quality of life for everyone, by allowing us to interact with computers.
“It’s kind of like Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.”
Understanding How The Brain Communicates
In order to understand how the Link works, you must understand that your brain sends information to different parts of your body using neurons. Within your brain, these neurons will connect together using a neural network and communicate using chemical signals called neurotransmitters. The reaction between different neurons will create an electric field, and these reactions can be recorded by placing neurotransmitters nearby. The electrodes will then translate these signals into an algorithm, a computer can interpret. Once the Link is installed into someone’s brain, the device will be able to send and receive neurons in your brain.
Getting The Link Inside Our Head
Drilling a hole into your skull and carefully inserting wires into your brain, is a little beyond human capabilities, and due to the complexities of this procedure, Elon Musk plans to have the Link inserted by a robot.
The robot that will carry out the procedure, will insert the Link into your brain using a microscope and needles that are so small you cannot easily spot them with the human eye (24 microns to be exact).
Additionally, the robot would insert around 10,000 electrodes, without touching any veins or arteries, bypassing any kind of blood vessel, making the procedure very safe. Fortunately, the operation only requires a 2mm incision, that would be dilated to 8mm and afterwards, the exposed part of the brain would be covered by the chipset module.
In the early stages of this procedure, Elon Musk estimates that the implementation could take up to one hour without general anesthesia, and eventually cost the same price of a LASEK eye surgery.
“You can go to hospital in the morning and leave by afternoon. And it can be done without general anesthesia.” -Elon Musk
So what will The Link do?
Although this device is in the early stages of testing, the first stages of the Link aim to target neural deficiencies including paralysis, mental illness, epilepsy, memory loss and hearing. In the future, Elon Musk plans to extend the device’s capabilities to download skills into your brain (for example, a new language), stream music in your head, communicate with external computers and even make telepathy less farfetched.
The Link has only received the FDA breakthrough device designation and still faces certain restrictions. Nevertheless, I can see many applications of this device changing many individuals' lives.
When my grandfather was alive, as he grew older his hearing gradually deteriorated. Unfortunately, when he needed his hearing the most, he could not hear anyone, which made his life quite difficult. Due to the pain in his hands and arms, his deafness, and the language barrier, it was impossible for him to learn sign language. When my grandfather became really sick, my mother and grandmother were the only individuals who could successfully communicate with him, and this made his last stages of life painful and heartbreaking.
With a device like the Link, people who are deaf can have a chance of hearing, improving the overall quality of their life, and preventing any feelings of isolation.
But pigs are first!
Remarkably enough, the early stages of the Link work in pigs. The video above shows Neuralink’s pig, Gertrude eating off a stool and sniffing straw. Every time she carries out an action, the Link tracks the electrical signals firing in her brain.
The Link Giving Us Endless Possibilities
Neuralink is an ambitious project but is one that could improve the lives of all individuals.
Despite the amazing technological advances made over the past few years, healthcare remains to be an important issue and still has a long way to go. With the drastic improvements that Neuralink plans to implement within their devices, the quality of life will improve for humanity, and we will be able to experience things that could not be done without A.I., giving humans more power.
We should not fear technology, since technology is our future. Instead, we should use technology as an advantage, and a company like Neuralink is developing products that will do this and ultimately reshape the human race.
Key Takeaways 🔑
- The Link is an invasive brain-computer interface that is being developed by Neuralink
- Electrodes can measure brain activity, and will then translate these signals into an algorithm, a computer can interpret. Once the Link is installed into someone’s brain, the device will be able to send and receive neurons in your brain
- A super-precise robot would insert the 10,000 Neuralink electrodes into your skull by making a 2mm incision in your head
- The link will have many possible capabilities including treating neural deficiencies, streaming music in your head, communicating with external computers and even telepathy
- Currently, the link works in pigs
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Hi, I’m Ashley, a 16-year-old coding nerd and A.I. enthusiast!
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