Human brains will be linked up to computers using ‘flexible threads’ created by Neuralink, the company founded by Elon Musk.
Designed to help paraplegic people use their computers or smartphones, the company has suggested the development could be used to help cure epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Musk suggested that the chip would "preserve and enhance your own brain", which he claims is needed to keep up with accelerated AI advancements. These are the most details that have been given about Neuralink’s project, since it was founded in 2016.
Musk also revealed that the system was already being tested on a monkey, which had "controlled a computer using its brain". Clinical trials for the product are planned to start next year whilst trials for the fully implanted interface system are set to begin in 2021.
The company has also designed a robotic system to install the chip in a human’s brain since the threads are almost indistinguishable to the naked eye. Max Hogan, Neurolink’s president, has said that "it’s a long process, it’s like learning to touch type or play the piano." He added that the creation won’t be something that a patient can quickly use, it will take time to learn how to control the device and use smartphones or computers through it.
David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, commented that, "This is of course an exciting step"...."However, this must be regulated and made as safe as possible before it is widely available to the public." He was referring to the flaws relating to brain implants that could possibly allow cyber-criminals to "steal, spy on, alter or even control human memories" through the implants. These findings were reportedly proven by the University of Oxford Functional Neurosurgery Group and Kaspersky. Emm stated that "it must be made clear how this next step will be secure, and people will be kept safe from unsavoury characters looking to exploit it for their own gains".