Billionaire Elon Musk is starting a new company called Neuralink. This is a medical research company that will allow human brains and computers to interface.
This company will be completely funded by Musk or by the venture capital firm of Peter Thiel, the Founders Fund. Neuralink will be categorized as a medical research company.
One of the co-founders of Musk at Neuralink will be Max Hodak. Hodak was a research assistant at Duke University Medical Center. Hodak researched and made brain-machine interfaces for monkeys. Hodak also co-started a company called Transcriptic.
Sources show that Neuralink has already three employees. One of which is Vanessa Tolosa who is an expert in flexible electrodes. Another is Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco who is an expert on brain controls movement. Finally, there is Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is well known for studying how birds sing through the implantation of tiny electrodes in their brains.
Musk is fascinated with the idea of a neural lace that allows direct human and computer interfacing. This will lessen the risk of humans being unable to evolve rapidly along with artificial intelligence.
Musk said, “I don’t love the idea of being a house cat. I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an Al layer…A third, a digital layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you.” Musk describes it this way, “You have your limbic system, the cortex, and then a digital layer, sort of a third layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you.”
One of the practical applications of this technology that Musk will be developing is to help treat people with spinal cord injuries to allow them to control artificial limbs. Another possible use of the technology is for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.
Charles Lieber, a Harvard researcher, said, “We’re trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits. We have to walk before we can run, but we think we can really revolutionize our ability to interface with the brain.”
One of the first objectives of the company is to create a working prototype that will prove the viability and safety of the technology. The prototype is most likely to be brain implants which can help in the treatment of epilepsy and even depression.
Musk admits that the technology for a partial-brain interface is just four for five years away. However, the odds of plugging an AI directly into our brains remains a long shot.
Musk said that this technology is necessary for humans to remain relevant. Musk said, “Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and usefulness problem.”
Elon musk is one of the principal sponsors of OpenAl project, a nonprofit. Its mission is to make artificial intelligence that is safe and to make sure that all research related to artificial research are widely distributed.