Elon Musk’s Neuralink puts computer chips in pigs’ brains in hopes of linking humans to artificial intelligence
A TECH firm co-founded by Elon Musk has fitted computer chips into the brains of pigs in a weird science bid to help people control computers with their minds.
The billionaire entrepreneur revealed Neuralink had placed coin-sized implants into three porkers during research to help those with severe spine and brain injuries.
Elon Musk has finally revealed a working Neuralink brain chip[/caption]
He showed off the development in a display called ‘Three Little Pigs’[/caption]
Musk – worth an estimated £60 billion – described the animals involved in his state-of-the art experiments as “healthy, happy and indistinguishable from a normal pig”.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder displayed the startling technology during a demonstration which appeared aimed at recruiting new staff.
The entrepreneur showed off a prototype of the device, about the size of a large coin, which had been surgically placed inside several pigs shown in an enclosure behind him.
He had last month tweeted that Neuralink “will show neurons firing in real-time” and that is what appears to have happened.
The tycoon showed an animal named Gertrude with one of the brain implants.
Musk described the pigs as ‘healthy, happy and indistinguishable’ from normal[/caption]
The chips are stitched into the brain by a special robot[/caption]
While she snuffed around in a pen, YouTube viewers witnessed her brain activity on a large screen.
Musk said: “We have a healthy and happy pig, initially shy but obviously high energy and, you know, kind of loving life, and she’s had the implant for two months.”
He described the chip as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires” during his “Three Little Pigs” demo.
“It goes flush on your skull. I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t know,” he said before adding “Maybe I do.”
He said: “The neurons are like wiring, and you sort of need an electronic thing to solve an electronic problem.”
The hi-tech system is comprised of a computer chip attached to tiny flexible threads that are stitched into the brain by a robot.
It can then pick ups signals in the brain which can be translated into motor controls.
Musk later took viewers over to an area with three pigs in separate pens revealing one was not chipped up.
“Dorothy which had an implant that was removed, illustrates that Link can be removed and you will live a healthy life,” he explained.
The redesigned Neuralink chip which is about the size of a large coin[/caption]
However, another pig had an implant, which Musk showed captured its brain activity on a screen.
“This shows the beats of Link on the screen and you can see each of the spikes from the 1,024 electrodes implanted in the pigs brain,” Musk said.
“When she touches her snout to the ground, the neurons will fire and that is what makes the sound.”
Musk started Neuralink in 2016 but details of the tech it was working on have been kept secret until now.
What exactly is Neuralink?
Here’s what you need to know…
Neuralink is a project that aims to embed computer chips in people’s brains
The idea is to give humans hyper-intelligence by merging them with artificial intelligence
Tiny threads thinner than a human hair would pump information into your noggin
It would work a bit like an internet cable, transmitting data in and out at high speeds
As well as making us smarter, the project promises to merge us with computers and phones
That means you could control your gizmos with your brain
Neuralink is bankrolled by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk
He’s previously said the tech could save us from a machine uprising in future
In May 2020, Musk claimed the brain implants could be ready ‘within a year’
Neuralink has sought approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for the project.
During Friday’s update, Musk was asked about methods of application including for video games or summoning one’s vehicle.
But the 49-year-old and his team made it clear the company first wants the chip to assist people who have severe spinal cord injuries with talking, typing and movement using their brain waves.
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“I am confident that long term it would be possible to restore someone’s full-body motion,” said Musk, who has also famously said that he wants to “die on Mars, just not on impact”.
Although the technology is initially aimed at helping those with brain disorders, Musk has said a brain-machine interface is needed in the future to mitigate the “existential threat of AI”.
During Friday’s update, the billionaire called for engineers, coders and those with experience delivering products to market to apply to work at Neuralink, adding: “You don’t need to have brain experience.”