When we last heard from Neuralink, Elon Musk’s latest forward-thinking company was busy bringing sci-fi to fact by implanting their eponymously named computer-brain interface in pigs, essentially creating cypigs. Well, now the company has evolved to planting their brain FitBits into monkeys. This time though, Neuralink has gone beyond merely showing off the pig’s sensory stimulation and her corresponding neural activity; now the company wants its monkeys to play mind games with each other, specifically “mind Pong.”
According to CNBC, on Sunday, Musk took to Clubhouse — a new social media site that lets users sit in on informal voice chats — and gave an update on what’s going on in the Muskiverse, from Tesla to SpaceX to Neuralink.
On the Neuralink front, Musk said they have successfully connected “tiny wires” to a computer chip inside a monkey’s skull. He also attempted to keep PETA at bay (for now): “It’s not an unhappy monkey,” he said. “You can’t even see where the neural implant was put in, except that he’s got a slight like dark mohawk.”
Musk also said that Neuralink is currently working on trying to figure out if they can utilize such chips — which drastically increases the rate at which information zaps from brain to machine — so that monkeys can eventually play “mind Pong” with each other. “That would be pretty cool,” he said.
Right, because it wouldn’t be cool enough to just watch monkeys playing regular old controller-based video games.
Of course, ultimately this cyborgian technology is going to make its way into humans, by means of a robot brain surgeon basically performing an unobtrusive, out-patient procedure (as outlined in the video). So yes, Neuralink has wide-reaching goals that go way beyond a seemingly-miraculous-though-not-quite game-changing game of mental Pong.
In the not-so-distant future, Musk believes Neuralink chips will be able to help quadriplegics with brain or spinal injuries “control a computer mouse, or their phone, or really any device just by thinking.”
Which would be amazing, no doubt. But it’s Musk’s sci-fi-leaning long term Neuralink dreams that are perhaps even more brain-busting, as the billionaire waxed to Clubhouse eavesdroppers about how the chip could allow humans to telepathically transfer concepts to others. And beyond that, beyond the beyond even, allow humans upon their death to exist in a “saved state” that could then be transferred to a robot or even another human.
For now though, we’ll just be happy with some “mind Pong,” thanks.