Elon Musk to Create Brain-to-Computer Interface Within Four Years
Ashley Allen / 6 years ago
Magnate entrepreneur Elon Musk – the man behind astronautics startup SpaceX, which aims to create a fleet of reusable space rockets, and electric car company Tesla – recently launched Neuralink, an organisation focused on creating brain-to-computer interfaces. Speaking to Wait But Why’s Tim Urban, Musk has now revealed that he believes Neuralink can develop a system to plug the human brain into a machine within the next four years.
“We are aiming to bring something to market that helps with certain severe brain injuries (stroke, cancer lesion, congenital) in about four years,” Musk told Urban during an exclusive inside look at Neuralink.
How such an interface will operate is, so far, unclear. During Urban’s time behind-the-scenes at Neuralink, he discussed how exactly the human brain would be connected to a computer. The team discussed it weariness of “invasive” brain/machine interfaces (BMIs, as they are referred to) – i.e. a line that runs directly into the brain, inserted via surgery – and revealed that one potential option would be enter the body via the arteries. Musk even suggested automating such procedures, much like Lasik eyesight corrective surgery.
“BMIs won’t sweep the world as long as you need to go in for skull-opening surgery to get involved,” Urban revealed. “This is a major topic at Neuralink. I think the word “non-invasive” or “non-invasively” came out of someone’s mouth like 42 times in my discussions with the team.”
“The machine to accomplish this would need to be something like Lasik, an automated process—because otherwise you just get constrained by the limited number of neural surgeons, and the costs are very high,” Musk explained. “You’d need a Lasik-like machine ultimately to be able to do this at scale.”
“The least invasive way would be something that comes in like a hard stent like through a femoral artery and ultimately unfolds in the vascular system to interface with the neurons,” Musk added. “Neurons use a lot of energy, so there’s basically a road network to every neuron.”
The research into BMIs is still in its early stages, but should Musk’s four-year prediction prove true, we should know a lot more about its implementation quite soon.