Five days ago, the high tech prophet Elon Musk released a presentation of his new ambitious project – Neuralink, the direct human brain-computer interface. At first glance, it looks like Musk is extracting his ideas right from fiction bestsellers, but he had plenty of chances to state that his incredible projects work successfully and this one is probably not the exception.
What is The Goal of Neuralink
Elon sees the ultimate goal of Neuralink as a complete symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence. He states, “With a high-bandwidth brain–machine interface, I think we can go along for the ride and effectively have the option of merging with AI.
How Does Neuralink Work
There are around 100 billion cells called neurons. Neurons are connected with each other to form a large network. They constantly exchange chemical signals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are released in response to electrical spike called action potential. When a cell receives enough of the neurotransmitter input – a chain reaction is triggered causing an action potential to fire and neuron to relay a message through downstream synapses. Those action potentials produce an electromagnetic field that can be detected by placing electrode nearby.
The goal of Neuralink is to record and selectively stimulate action potential spikes in as many neurons as possible across the diverse brain areas.
The size of the threads which are made to place neurons is approximately 1/10 of the size of a hair. That’s about the same size as a neuron. The whole procedure of placing electrodes is made by a robot to ensure the maximum safety and precision of the procedure.
Here’s what the robot looks like. It’s a quite complex device which carefully and precisely places electrodes ensuring minimal trauma.
On the left, you can see the size of the robot’s head compared to a penny and on the right, you can see a tiny little needle which is the size of 24 microns in which the electrode comes from.
Elon Musk also stated that they are planning to release a prototype by the end of the next year. The main purpose of the presentation is recruiting and planning to continuously increase the difficulty of tasks placed before the team. So if you are capable enough to take the job you may as well be a part of the greatest breakthroughs in human-computer interfaces ever made.