You must be already familiar with the name Tesla or might have heard of it often over the past few years. If you know about Tesla, Solar City, SpaceX or Hyper-loop; then you probably know about Elon Musk as well. People who know him and follow him are startled these days for Elon Musk is set on a new vision – to connect human brains with Internet. Even after working on so many brilliant ideas viz. pioneering electric cars, founding world’s largest online payment firm, or making human species a multi-planetary species; this billionaire now plans to connect human brains to the Internet through Neuralink.
Some people might wonder if such a thing is even possible in reality? The answer is YES! There has been a lot of work in the field of neuro-technology and neuro-modulation. The general idea behind this concept is basically a process that can give you control of neurons by modulating signals or controlling the actions of a particular neuron. This new startup from Elon Musk is working on a computer chip that can be implanted in the human brain, which sounds a bit scary but ultimately reflects a noble cause.
The Elon Musk Startup team has been working on Neurotechnology i.e. connecting your brain to the computer, to help people with brain disorders like epilepsy, major depressive disorder, etc. These are some of the initial or basic or you can say founding pillars for even greater cause towards the human enhancement.
Elon Musk stated at an Interview with The Verge that he is worried about the efforts made by big tech companies towards AI research, but working towards human enhanced brain or even introducing a computer interface with brain seems risky. Up till now it’s a good and safe journey as we can see however they are concerned about the difficulties of brain disorder. Rest can be said as and when they slowly progress in this field.
Now, there is an interesting story behind the name ‘Neuralink’. No one knows why they wanted the name Neuralink that bad, so much so that they bought it from Pedram Mohseni (Bio-engineer) and Nudo (Brain Specialist), the founders of NeuraLink (spelled with capital L) and paid a pretty good amount for it. Nudo and Mohseni began working on their idea for electronic brain chip to treat brain injuries. They demonstrated the prototype for the same in which they helped brain-damaged rats. Their first demonstration led the foundation of NeuraLink.
NeuraLink, even with the successful demo was not considered as reliable an investment for investors as people got really worried about things that would be added to the human brain. Even if Nudo and Mohseni had a provocative idea, they couldn’t say for sure if that system would help anyone which became evident when Nudo once said, “The Thing with Neurotech is that even if it works, it is hard to see its profitability.” The problem with Mohseni and Nudos NeuraLink was that it appeared as “name without product”. There have been many companies in the past that have failed in brain-interfacing ideas such as BrainGate and Northstar which spent over $132 million in order to help stroke patients.
From the previous article The Rise of Electric Era, we already talked about SpaceX, Blue Origin, Tesla Motors and Faraday Future. We saw that similar to him there have been other people and various other competitor companies which promised similar products. This time, with the Neuralink and brain interfacing battle, there is already a self-made millionaire who launched his company towards efforts on merging your brain with computers.
Bryan Johnson, founder of Kernel, a Los Angeles Start-Up with 20 employees working to make “chips to insert in brain”. These chips are neurotechnological hardware designed to read and write neural code. The cause is same here i.e. to help individuals restore normal brain functions by eradicating diseases and deficiencies. However, the cherry on the cake is the fact that Bryan Johnson sees Neuralink as a friend and looks forward to working together. Johnson, at mere age of 39 invested $100 million on his own in Kernel. He is a self made billionaire for a reason, the story of which I am saving for later.
Bryan Johnson once said, “I couldn’t be more excited that Neuralink will join Kernel in this extremely challenging and promising pursuit.” He adds that, “The Neurotech industry will be one of the largest to ever emerge. I am happy others will be pushing the field forward as well.” He continues about the evolution during each generation and said, “A generation’s time and place is defined by the debates they have. So, for example, we have civil rights and human rights and marriage rights and abortion rights. I think this coming discussion for our society will be of evolution rights.” With this brilliant minds working on extra-ordinary ideas, a great technological advancement is expected in the near future.
If it would not have been about Elon, I would have never been able to learn and share such great things happening around with you. As time progresses and as we see more human minds with brilliant ideas emerging, there will be greater scope for human species to advance physically as well as logically.
Last but not the least, leaving you with one of Elon’s quotes, “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you have done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and keep questioning yourself” – Elon Musk.