Merging Your Brain with AI
On Friday at 6pm Elon Musk updated the world on his third most famous company Neuralink.
To recap our Friday issue by Robert Williams, Neuralink wants to develop a brain chip that could potentially help with a variety of brain issues including diseases like Parkinson’s.
The new model version 0.9 is a lot more compact — only about the size of a quarter. And unlike last year’s model, a person would never know the implant was there unless they looked for the scar.
Neuralink’s team speculated that a person’s implant could store and playback memories, summon their vehicle to come pick them up, and even tell if a person was having a heart attack.
But the question is, will they ever get there?
Despite all the hype for Friday’s demonstration…
There really wasn’t anything new that they showed.
Brain-computer interfaces or BCIs have been around for over 40 years.
What’s more, researchers have had success using BCI’s to solve the problems Musk was describing.
In 2002 a blind man was given a BCI that allowed him to be able to use a car and drive around a parking lot. In 2005, a tetraplegic man was able to control a robotic arm using a BCI. In 2015, a quadriplegic man used a BCI to control an F-35 in a computer simulation.
Musk wants to merge our minds with AI because he fears the day that AI will become smarter than us.
But it’s unlikely that will happen anytime soon, if ever.
Self-aware intelligence isn’t something you can create from an electronic circuit.
There’s also a lot of hurdles ahead for Neuralink that wasn’t answered up front.
The company said it wasn’t ready to start any clinical trials yet, which would be the next logical step in the process.
Furthermore, a lot of current problems with BCIs weren’t addressed in the demonstration.
For instance, there’s currently a lot of fear about the side-effects several years after the implant goes in. The brain is a corrosive environment and anything less than a 10-year lifespan would be unacceptable.
Not to mention problems with scar tissue and other complications from having a foreign object in your body.
Bottom line, Friday didn’t really do much for the industry.
Good work is being done by Universities and private companies across the world.
Musk claims that Neuralink is better than anything else out there right now… but he can’t prove it.
We won’t know anything until this goes into human trials — and there’s not a date set yet for when that will happen.
To a bright future,