As if handling two companies is not enough, Elon Musk is backing a new one – Neuralink. This company will use technological augmentation to make human brains sharper, according to The Wall Street Journal. Previously, there have been rumors of Musk planning to introduce brain-computer interface tech to allow people to cope with the ever-growing artificial intelligence threat.
Initially, the company will use “neural lace” to diagnose chronic diseases and treat brain conditions, notes Inverse. The lace could negate the harms that electrical activity does, leading to epileptic seizures. Patients suffering from depression are often given electroconvulsive therapy. However, this has long been at the center of controversy for the side effects, and “neural lace” can bring the effects down substantially, notes Inverse.
If these efforts pay off as expected, the procedure could be used for many other problems as well. Musk is likely aiming at increasing the speed and usefulness of AI interactions by using mental commands to controlling AI and robots.
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Musk has been trying to transform Neuralink into a commercial venture for the last year. In July, the company was registered as a medical research company in California, and then in October, a trademark application was filed. Musk intends to finance Neuralink by himself, reported the Journal, citing unnamed sources. He is also considering bringing in other investors such as Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.
Innovation to enhance brain capabilities
Recently when addressing a crowd in Dubai, Musk hinted at his latest project, saying, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence. It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”
People know that Musk had been working on the sci-fi shorthand called “neural lace” for a brain interface to help humans improve the way they interact with AI. Big names in medical field have tried using electrode arrays and other implants to counter the effects that neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy have on patients, notes TechCrunch.
Musk’s “neural lace” may help explore the numerous ways dangerous diseases could be treated when their symptoms first appear. The procedure has not gained much popularity due to the massive risks involved and also because operating on a human brain is not only incredibly dangerous but invasive as well. Hence, patients choose such a surgery only when no other medical option works. The number of patients with such implants in their skulls is small, notes The Verge.