Plans to Stitch a Computer into Your Brain

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What could go wrong?

From Wired:

ELON MUSK DOESN’T think his newest endeavor, revealed Tuesday night after two years of relative secrecy, will end all human suffering. Just a lot of it. Eventually.

At a presentation at the California Academy of Sciences, hastily announced via Twitter and beginning a half hour late, Musk presented the first product from his company Neuralink. It’s a tiny computer chip attached to ultrafine, electrode-studded wires, stitched into living brains by a clever robot. And depending on which part of the two-hour presentation you caught, it’s either a state-of-the-art tool for understanding the brain, a clinical advance for people with neurological disorders, or the next step in human evolution.

The chip is custom-built to receive and process the electrical action potentials—“spikes”—that signal activity in the interconnected neurons that make up the brain. The wires embed into brain tissue and receive those spikes. And the robotic sewing machine places those wires with enviable precision, a “neural lace” straight out of science fiction that dodges the delicate blood vessels spreading across the brain’s surface like ivy.

If Neuralink’s technologies work as Musk and his team intend, they’ll be able to pick up signals from across a person’s brain—first from the motor cortex that controls movement but eventually throughout your think-meat—and turn them into machine-readable code that a computer can understand.

. . . .

“It’s not as if Neuralink will suddenly have this incredible neural lace and take over people’s brains. It will take a long time.”

Link to the rest at Wired

5 thoughts on “Plans to Stitch a Computer into Your Brain”

  1. My blood draw/IV infusion port stitched temporarily into my chest and aortic artery (!) for chemo treatment works flawlessly perhaps 10% of the time. Otherwise it requires coaxing of an ever more baroque variety to be made to work at all.

    This is a simple, useful, modern medcal device, made of plastic, in quantities of millions, no doubt.

    And going nowhere near my brain.

    We would all find working devices of this nature wondrous. But we may also all find that that they can’t be made to work reliably at all, and may cause perhaps irreversible damage.

    And then, there’s the uses to which they might be put.

    I’m not against such aspirations, but it’s gonna be a long and very slippery slope if it goes anywhere.

  2. The people with the cited neurological diseases would welcome even a fiddly system that restored a fraction of control over their bodies. Parkingson’s comes to mind. So does epilepsy.
    ALS would take a while.

    It won’t be soon but the tech is needed.
    No doubt it will be abused but if every tech that can be abused were blocked we’d be back in the caves. Because they all can.
    The problem isn’t the tech but rather the naked apes.

  3. “It’s not as if Neuralink will suddenly have this incredible neural lace and take over people’s brains. It will take a long time.”

    Well it’s good to have long term goals.

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