Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Neuralink Presentation: A Recap of everything that happened

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Elon Musk finally shed more light on his Neuralink company that has raised $158 million to develop machine interface after a presentation earlier today. The event started about 50 minutes late.

In the livestream announcement he made it clear the company was interested in broadening the topic to the general topic and wants to recruit more talented people. He further expressed his long-held concern that humans would be left behind by developments in artificial intelligence.

Goals of the company

Why Neuralink?

"Neuralink can help us understand and treat brain disorder. For anyone that survives brain cancers is prone to disorder. This can be solve with a chip." Musk said. It will go a long way to get approval from the FDA and the general public.But at the end there can be a full brain interface with symbiosis merging with AI.

The company is already working in animals tests. "A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain," Musk said at the live-streaming presentation on YouTube. To that end, Neuralink says it has developed a new way of embedding electrodes in the brain using tiny insulated “threads” that resemble a string of pearls and connect to a chip embedded in the skull. Those threads are designed to be both sturdy enough to pass through brain tissue and withstand degradation, according to the company, while also being flexible enough to not damage tissue when the brain shifts in the skull. That could (and it’s a big could) be a significant advance over current methods that use needle-like electrodes that can be risky to insert or offer degrading performance over time. The interface to the chip is wireless and it is basically bluetooth to your phone from the version 1 model the company has created. Then the embedded sensors capture information and send it to a receiver (the chip) on the surface of the skull which could also bluetooth information to your skull. The results so far from the testing on lab rats implanted with as many as 1,500 electrode which everyone should be warn that when applied to humans may only have minimum trauma.

This is what the robot and the needle that gets inserted looks like

                                                   The chip will look like this

The company "hopes" to begin working on human subjects later next year. Implantation right now requires drilling holes but the researchers hope to use lasers to avoid unpleasant vibration.Whether or not this can work in humans is, again, still unproven.

Neuralink president Max Hodak went on to explain why it's embedding sensors directly into the brain, near but not in neurons.  Simply, it's the only way to send and receive the information necessary, from "spikes" of activity. A neurosurgeon is also part of the presentation, showing off some videos of the implantation technology, and how its robot can install thousands of wires directly into the brain while avoiding tissue damage and bleeding. Eventually, they would like to do it without shaving the patient's head, although he acknowledged that the first operations will be more like current deep brain implants.

There are numerous other reasons to be cautious. Musk is well known for making big promises that often fail to pan out and offering up ambitious timetables for grandiose projects (i.e. Mars colonization) that have attracted labels like “messianic huckster,” “the best used-car salesman on Earth,” and the “world’s most annoying bullshitter.” Neuralink’s claims are all but certain to attract a great deal of scientific scrutiny in the coming days. Video or playback is unavailable on YouTube  right now.

Source:, YouTube.