Here's the science behind Neuralink, Elon Musk's sci-fi new venture

 
Lian Parsons
Elon Musk wants humans to become one with AI (Source: Getty Images )

Elon Musk wants to download your brain.

The man behind Tesla, SpaceX and Hyperloop is at it again, this time with a company called Neuralink, whichis working on a device that will allow humans to merge their brains with software.

What is it?

The technology behind it is called neural lace, a thin, mesh-like material made of a collection of electrodes, which can be injected into the skull and implanted into the brain. The technology could enhance memory and cognitive powers and theoretically make it possible to translate thoughts into text.

How does it work?

Each needle containing the neural lace is millimetres in length. When injected, the lace unfurls and finds its way to the appropriate neurons, then monitors the subsequent brain activity. Eventually, injected lace could become a part of the brain as electronic particles interweave with the organic.

This technology has already been tested on mice to relative success.

Neuralink registered a medical research company in July and is still in its very early stages. It said it hopes to develop its initial products to treat brain diseases and illnesses like Parkinson’s, depression and epilepsy.

What's it for?

Combining technology and human brains may be fairly new, but it has already helped benefit people with paralysis in recent years with electroencephalogram (EEG) technology, which can measure electrical impulses from the brain.

When connected to the brain, the person can think of an action and the brain will send that signal to the sensors attached to the limb, triggering a muscle contraction and allowing it to move.

Here's a video of it in action:

Does this mean robots actually are taking over the world?

Musk is wary of the future of Artificial Intelligence and has expressed fears of AI taking over the human race. His solution to beat it? Merge with it.

"We are, all of us, already cyborgs," Musk said at the Beneficial AI conference in January.

"You have a machine extension of yourself in the form of your phone and your computer and all your applications … by far you have more power, more capability than the president of the United States had 30 years ago.”

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