Elon Musk: Neuralink ready to undergo clinical trial in humans

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Elon Musk announced at the Neuralink Show and Tell event that the Neuralink device is ready to undergo clinical trial in humans in six months, pending FDA approval.

Discussing the main motivation behind Neuralink, Musk said: “It was, actually, my prime motivation which was ‘what do we do about AI?’ What do we do about artificial general intelligence if we have digital superintelligence that… that’s much more smarter than a human. How do we mitigate that risk?”

According to Musk, the overall goal is to create an ‘ultimate whole brain interface’. A generalised input/output device that, as a long-term effect, could interface every aspect of the brain. Its aim is to assist people, especially those with paralysis and such diseases, to regain independence by inserting the device into the brain that will enable them to control computers and mobile devices.

Additionally, Musk said he’s confident the Neuralink device can restore full body functionality for those with spinal injuries.

One of the first two applications for Neuralink aimed for humans is targeting the visual part of the brain, with Musk claiming the device will restore visions for people who lost it or those who were born blind. Meanwhile, the second application targets the motor cortex. Musk said Neuralink initially enabled someone who lost the ability to move their muscle to use their mobile phone faster than someone who has working hands.

Currently, the device is being tested on monkeys and a fake brain simulator, with Musk showing videos of monkeys with Neuralink implants controlling computers with their brains. 

Additionally, Neuralink said the first step along the dimensions for the Neuralink device is the N1 implant. The wireless implant possesses 1,000 channels that are capable of recording and stimulating.

Also seen at the event is Neurolink’s R1 Robot implanting the device in a fake brain. The R1 Robot is built to safely implant the device into the brain without errors. 

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