An Intersection Of Humanity And Neural Technology
Musk does it again
In July of 2016, Neuralink was founded by none other than Elon Musk. This secretive company has only released a few statements since its inception, but here is what we know.
Neuralink is founded on the fundamental belief that AI and humans need to learn to live symbiotically. In this ever-changing and progressing world, our lives are becoming increasingly dependent on technology. There are many uncertainties regarding the reliance of mankind on technology, but instead of being scared of the concept, it's time to embrace it. To remain superior to our AI overlords, we have to enhance ourselves. Neural technology offers us what we need to remain on top.
Neuralink is developing a BMI (Brain Machine Interface) that has endless possibilities. This BMI will be reliant on two main components: the N1 chip surgically implanted in the brain and the link that is externally placed by your ear.
The size of the said chip is 8mm in diameter and 4mm tall. Each chip is equipped with 1,204 electrodes. The N1 chip can only be implanted with the custom surgical robot developed by the company itself due to the precision requires and the the microscopic size of the pieces you are working with. These electrodes come out of the chip once inserted into the brain. The minuscule size of these electrodes doesn't even cause pain since the brain doesn't posses any pain receptors. To put things into perspective, the diameter of the electrode threads are a tenth of hair. Theoretically, this surgery can be done without any anesthesia. These electrodes are placed in close proximity of your neurons. 60 nanometers to be precise. The electrodes are able to gather information from the action potential generated between the linking neurons and also transmit information through the electrodes by creating an electrical impulse.
Successful tests have already been done on apes and rats. The company is hoping to start human trials with he FDA's approval by the end of 2020.
The link (rectangular external device in the image above) is placed behind your ear and connects to the chips via wired connection via USB-C. The link houses the software and the battery for the device. Software updates occur through the Link as well.
Neuralink offers a fascinating product, but let's discuss it's application in today's world.
Helping with paraplegics is first on the list of problems Musk hopes to solve with the N1 chip. Paralysis is caused by damaged neurons that are unable to transmit signals, but the N1 chip will be able to function as a replacement of these neurons and be able to distribute the electric impulses needed to have the body function regularly. This would have a huge impact on the medical industry and even questions the need of physical therapy.
Neuralink has also also developed an app that is connected with the tech in your brain through Bluetooth. One would be able to control your phone by thinking about what your objective is. If your house is equipped with smart home devices, you can merely think of turning the lights on upstairs and boom; it's done. Oh you forgot to turn the TV off downstairs, no worries, just think about turning it off.
Through wireless connection to the internet, your brain now has access to endless information. This enhancement device can help humans learn substantial amounts information in a matter of seconds.
Communication will be evolve as well. What is the need of even texting people if you can transmit messages by thinking of what you want to say to people through the Bluetooth device.
However, there is a concern referring to the cyber security of this technology. Since this device is part of the IOT, your brain would be able to get hacked. The N1 device can be a threat to your daily life, knowing there are people out there capable of having access to the chip embedded in your brain.
Neuralink is a forerunner in this new industry and offers us a unique vision for the future of the human race. Neuralink can offer the possibility of having people walking around with super computers in their brains. Obviously, these things won't be achieved anytime soon and there are still many years to come before this device is accessible to everyone, but we are headed in the right direction towards a society living symbiotically with human enhancement devices.