Elon Musk, undoubtedly one of the greatest minds of this century, from creating energy-efficient battery cars to digging tunnels underground, to making huge rockets to send humans to Mars. From time to time Elon has challenged the status quo and came up really unique and discerning inventions.
The list of things Elon handles is really diverse but according to him they all are aimed towards the end goal of reaching Mars, on Joe Rogan podcast he said: “I aim at making things which solve a problem and ease my effort to reach Mars.” One of the most ambiguous projects that Musk has under his belt is called “Neuralink”, it is a neuro-technology based device which aims at developing implantable brain-machine (BMI).
Musk believes that in the future it is a high possibility that artificial intelligence takes over human beings, and to be able to exist with AI it is important that we become a part of them through ‘neuralink’.
How will it work, and what else can be done with neuralink?
Apart from Elon, there are 9 other tech enthusiasts, including Max Hodak and Jared Birchall who came together to create ‘neuralink’. The implants of the ‘neuralink’ are made in such a way that it interfaces directly with the human brain, it works like a sewing machine capable of implanting very thin threads into the brain although only demonstrations have been possible so far.
There have been no concrete human trials. According to Musk, if things go right then human trials might begin from the end of 2020. Although due to the ongoing COVID outbreak, Musk seems less confident with that timeline. Apart from making humans half-machine the ‘neuralink’ supposedly can fix any kind of brain damage or trauma faced by a person.
Elon said during an interview in May 2020 “There’s still a lot of work to do, but in principle, it could fix anything that’s wrong with the brain”.
The road ahead for ‘neuralink’
It seems like neuralink can be a distant reality, keeping in mind that people are not sure about what exactly it is. In terms of gaining interest Elon has been able to raise about 158 million dollars out of which he spent 100 million from his own pocket. Musk has been very smart when it comes to marketing, his products such as the solar roof, cyber-truck, tesla roadster are still nowhere to be seen. Based on that, ‘neuralink’ can also be one of Musk’s shelved projects, which he might never deliver.
The commercial use of this device also seems rather vague and abstract, at an event in Shanghai a controversial exchange took place between Jack Ma and Elon. Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire and co-founder of Alibaba, seemed confident about the prospect of Artificial Intelligence in the future. Ma claimed that AI will open doors to various opportunities and it will be the humans operating them and that there is no need to be like AI because human beings are already ahead of the former.
Furthermore, he predicted that AI will create new kinds of jobs, which would require less of our time and can be centred towards creative tasks.
(WAIC event Shanghai,2019)
With a possibility that any kind of brain damage or any damage particularly in the network of neurons can be fixed, raises a complex social dilemma. So is Elon trying to be a god by developing a device which will help humans fix their blindness or injury?
Even if it is possible should a device be made which gives abilities to any human being to be more than what they are biologically destined for?
The most forlorn reality will be if people lose their basic natural human qualities which makes them individual and unique, the ability to harness diverse thoughts, feel emotions etcetera, and if this device is to be developed what will be the future of our humankind? Is there a chance that man and machine can live in a symbiosis? Do you think we need a device like ‘neuralink’?