SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence.
More recently, Musk told a crowd in Dubai, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He added that “It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.” On Twitter, Musk has responded to inquiring fans about his progress on a so-called “Neural lace,” which is sci-fi shorthand for a brain-computer interface humans could use to improve themselves.
This is partly because it is incredibly dangerous and invasive to operate on the human brain, and only those who have exhausted every other medical option choose to undergo such surgery as a last resort.
“We know if we put a chip in the brain and release electrical signals, that we can ameliorate symptoms of Parkinson’s,” Johnson told The Verge in an interview late last year.
Kernel, to its credit, is quite upfront about the years of medical research necessary to better understand the human brain and pioneer new surgery techniques, software methods, and implant devices that could make a consumer brain-computer interface a reality.
Neuroscience researchers say we have very limited understanding about how the neurons in the human brain communicate, and our methods for collecting data on those neurons is rudimentary.