Good news everyone! Elon Musk is making headlines again – and it’s not a Twitter story. This time. Before we return to your regularly scheduled Twitter updates, we need to discuss Musk’s Neuralink show-and-tell event, held on 30 November.
“can i please have snacks” – Monke (2022, colourised)
Monkeys can type telepathically now. No, we’re not joking. If you’ve followed Neuralink’s journey into the world of connecting human brains to machines, this might not be such a surprise. A few months ago, we got a look at a monkey playing Pong with only its mind as a controller. Neuralink has taken it a step further, giving its test subjects the power of ‘telepathic typing’.
Musk raised the point that if this technology were more widespread, it could help “someone with no interface with the outside world [being able] to control their phone better than someone who has working hands.” “Better” is the operative word here. It may not look like it right now, and that’s because monkeys can’t read English. Or any language, for that matter. It’s been trained to click certain keys on a keyboard with its mind in order to get snacks.
Should a human take control of this, we’re sure that it would surpass an average human’s typing speed. And it’ll be more accurate too.
Check out the monkey that can type faster than your grandmother:
Not going back to formula
Neuralink isn’t just designed for animal use, obviously. The eventual goal is to incorporate it into a human’s brain – an idea that sounds like it’s been pulled straight from a George Orwell novel. It won’t be happening in 1984 (for obvious reasons) but it could take place as soon as next year. During the event, Musk mentioned that Neuralink has already submitted most of the paperwork needed for human trials to the Food and Drug Administration in the US. Iit’s just awaiting approval before it can move forward.
Previously, Musk told the world he had hoped human trials would begin in 2020, which didn’t happen. He later expressed hopes for a 2022 trial date which, again, didn’t happen. Third time’s the charm?
Should the chip ever become a viable addition to a human’s brain, you’ll need to undergo surgery to get it implanted. The actual chips are pretty small, with 64 hair-sized “threads” that are inserted into the brain. Musk described the process as “… replacing a piece of your skull with a smartwatch, for lack of a better analogy.”
Neuralink is still in the recruitment phase, meaning a commercial Neuralink is still ages away. The two previous ‘show-and-tells’ were used as recruiting grounds, and it was no different for the 2022 presentation. The company still has plenty of roles to fill as it moves from “prototype to product”, according to Musk.
Source: Digital Trends