Elon Musk has been working on a human-computer brain interface called Neuralink, aiming to link human brains to artificial intelligence.
Neuralink aims to hook up the human brain to AI through micron-sized devices and the potential applications hold great promise. For instance, AI could serve as an extension of the human brain and help with certain brain injuries stemming from a stroke, cancer lesions, or other health conditions.
As an entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk has plenty of ambitious projects in the works but Neuralink might take the cake. Wait But Why explains more about Neuralink in a detailed report, so here's the deal.
Elon Musk's Neuralink To Link AI And Human Brains
Musk has confirmed that he'll be the CEO of Neuralink as well, so he will be in charge of three separate companies. Neuralink aims to enable higher-bandwidth connections between computers and human brains, which could translate to a whole new level of synergy.
The goal is to bring micron-sized devices to market by 2020 and treat brain injuries and their systems, which could even include paralysis or memory loss. The next step would be to develop a new way to link human brains to each other, allowing people to communicate directly without having to resort to low-bandwidth solutions such as talking or typing.
We're Already Cyborgs, Why Not Upgrade?
Among the main ideas is that linking AI to human brains is not about turning people into cyborgs, because they already are. It's about improving and upgrading people from "primitive, low-bandwidth cyborgs to modern high-bandwidth cyborgs."
Since we already spend a significant part of our daily lives in the digital world, upgrading to a higher-bandwidth connection to that world makes sense, and that's what Musk envisions.
"You're already digitally superhuman. The thing that would change is the interface-having a high-bandwidth interface to your digital enhancements," Musk explains, as cited by Wait But Why. "The thing is that today, the interface all necks down to this tiny straw, which is, particularly in terms of output, it's like poking things with your meat sticks, or using words - either speaking or tapping things with fingers. And in fact, output has gone backward. It used to be, in your most frequent form, output would be 10-finger typing. Now, it's like, two-thumb typing. That's crazy slow communication. We should be able to improve that by many orders of magnitude with a direct neural interface."
Enhanced Communication With Neuralink
Should Musk achieve his ambitious goals for Neuralink, the communications improvement could be as huge a milestone as when humans first started communicating through language. While language has proven to be a greatly efficient solution to express thoughts socially, Neuralink would tremendously increase that efficiency and allow for far more advanced communication.
Between individuals, for instance, Musk envisions direct "uncompressed" communication rather than "compressed" communication that translates one's thoughts into language and then requires the recipient to "decompress" it linguistically. "Uncompressed" communication would make things easier and better, as parts of the message would no longer be lost in the process.
Integrating AI With Human Consciousness
The Neuralink technology would also enable the human brain to keep up with the rapid pace at which AI advances. To do so, it would virtually integrate human consciousness with AI, linking human brains to machines. Humans could use AI simply as an extension of their brains, like an extra faculty or skill.
Embedding high-bandwidth communication into the brain would enable humans to integrate cloud-based AI computing so deeply that it would be indistinguishable from their core selves. For instance, we can't really distinguish our language expressions and statements to figure out exactly which part of the brain generates them, and the AI integration could be similarly seamless to the point that it's just as indistinguishable.
The technology is still years away from any form of commercial application, but it holds great promise nonetheless. Therapeutic applications are a priority and it will be interesting to see how things unfold.