Billionaire Elon Musk reported on Tuesday night that his company Neuralink is making progress in an interface that connects the brain with computers, which is expected to begin to be tested in people next year.
“We can make a complete brain-machine interface,” Musk said with members of Neuralink at an event in San Francisco to showcase their advances and recruit talent in the fields of software, robotics, neuroscience, among others.
The project can “achieve a kind of symbiosis with artificial intelligence,” said Musk, a futuristic entrepreneur who also heads Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk says that a link that unites minds with machines is vital if people want to avoid being overtaken by artificial intelligence that, according to him, confronts humans at the risk of being relegated to a role of “domestic cats.”
The emerging company, Neuralink, showed the first version of a tiny sensor that can be implanted in a brain through a small incision made by a robot specially built to perform this task of high precision. The procedure should be as simple as a laser eye surgery.
“They are mini electrodes, and the robot implants them delicately,” said Musk, noting that there may be thousands of these electrodes connected to a brain.
“It’s something that will not be stressful to place, that will work well and does not require physical connections,” he said. The chip will communicate by air with a hearing aid that sends information to a smartphone application, according to Neuralink.
For now, the goal is for a person with implants to control the phone with thoughts, but the technology can eventually be extended to other devices, such as robotic arms. Of the first objectives of this technology is to treat patients with neurological diseases.