At this point, it is only par for the course for Elon Musk. This time the SpaceX and Tesla CEO has made a bold promise regarding brain chips. He claims that Neuralink, Musk’s neuro-technology company, will hopefully be ready to test the technology in human subjects by 2022. In case you didn’t know, that’s just around the corner.
This is not the first time Musk has given an expected timeframe for the revolutionary interface. In 2019, he had hopes that human testing could begin by the end of 2020. However, 2020 was a disastrous event with the covid pandemic raging and bringing the world to a standstill. As such, Musk’s plans seem to have regained some momentum as the pandemic gradually dies down.
Are The Promised Brain Chips Finally Here?
On December 6th, in an interview at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit, Elon revealed his expectations and deadlines for Neuralink for the next year.
There, the multi-billionaire, replied that the brain chips, or neurochips, have already been successfully implanted in monkeys. He then gave a brief explanation of the next goals regarding humans.
Musk said that that interface between an organic brain and a machine has been working well, for the monkey test subjects. For now, the company is carrying out as many tests as possible to confirm its safety and reliability. They are also trying to ensure that the device by Neuralink can be safely removed.
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In April, Musk had posted a video in which a monkey was seemingly playing a game with the implanted brain chipsp. In July, Neuralink managed to raise $205Mn. It promised to direct its efforts towards making the brain chips let quadriplegics interact with digital devices.
He also added that his company hopes to have the technology tested on the first human subjects next year. This is because they are awaiting approval from the FDA. Furthermore, the first test subjects will likely be patients suffering from extreme injuries to their spinal cord, such as paraplegics and quadriplegics.
There Is Already Tough Competition For Musk’s Company
Elon Musk, who is also famous for his online presence, took to Twitter and restated his goals for 2022. He noted that some of his other plans will speed up when the device can be implanted in humans in 2022. He quipped that monkeys are difficult to hold proper conversations with.
However, Musk has a history of boldly putting forward deadlines and timelines for extremely ambitious projects. Two of the more recent ones were the Cybertruck from Tesla and the grand plans for Mars colonization. Unfortunately, the deadlines on these two are either far from being met, or the product had to be reassessed. Of course, Musk ensures that he along with his employees works as much as humanely possible so that the goals can be met.
Regardless, meeting this deadline might be even more important for Musk’s brand of brain chips. Several other competing startups in neuro-technology have already started testing them out on human subjects. These brain chips will also possibly increase the wearers’ intelligence.
Furthermore, one of Neuralink’s co-founders has left Musk’s project in mysterious circumstances. He has also founded another neuro-tech startup. So there is no lack of competition in this sector. However, Elon Musk’s project has a unique edge over others: none other than Elon Musk is funding it.
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- “Elon Musk unveils Neuralink’s plans for brain-reading ‘threads’ and a robot to insert them” The Verge. July 16, 2019.
- “‘Tesla as the World’s Biggest Robot Company:’ Elon Musk on AI and U.S. Innovation | WSJ.” Youtube. Wall Street Journal. December 6, 2021
- “Elon Musk said Neuralink hopes to start implanting its brain chips in humans in 2022, later than he anticipated.” Business Insider. Isobel Asher Hamilton. December 7, 2021
- “Elon Musk’s brain-chip company, Neuralink, released a video of a monkey playing video games with its mind.” Business Insider. Isobel Asher Hamilton. April 9, 2021.
- “Elon Musk’s brain-chip company Neuralink has raised $205 million, and says its tech will help quadriplegic people control phones and laptops with their minds.” Business Insider. Isobel Asher Hamilton. July 30, 2021.