Elon Musk Wants to Link Brain and Computer

Elon Musk wants to link your brain to your computer. And he’s serious about it. Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of SpaceX and the Tesla electric car company is powering up the use of electronic devices that can be embedded in your brain to improve performances in areas like memory, according a report in the U.K.’s Independent.

His company, Neuralink, is reportedly working toward the idea, and Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal both note that investors have piled on. Musk himself is bankrolling the rest with $100 million of his own cash. Neuralink’s website describes the goal as an “ultra high bandwidth brain-machine” that “interfaces to connect humans and computers.”

It’s an intriguing concept — imagine manipulating computers with your mind. No more physical typing or even talking text. And new worlds would open for the handicapped. If scientists could decode the signals from optic nerve to the brain, the blind could “see” without eyes. For those who are paralyzed, function could be restored.

The idea itself is not a new one, as the University of California, Los Angeles, set off on such research in the 1970s. Called a “brain-computer interface” researchers sought a direct communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device.

And there have been successes — most notably in the fields of neuroprosthetics; for example, cochlear implants in the ear, and retinal implants in the eye. These successes are limited, though, with movements being less precise than the human body and visual and cochlear implants somewhat limited in their early stages.

While there are myriad other researchers striving to meld mind and computer, Elon Musk would apply them to everyday use. Everyone would have the ability to control their computers with their minds. And Musk’s is the first company being set up to do so.   

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