Elon Musk's brain implant company Neuralink is aiming to bridge the gap between humanity and AI. However, that's just one goal of many for the often-hyped company. As well as helping paralysed people talk and interface with machines, the in development brain implant will allegedly help to treat common illnesses.
Elon Musk claims Neuralink will treat common illnesses
Revealed back in 2016, the Musk-funded brain implant is still years away. While human trials are said to start soon, the technology is still far away from Musk's promises of merging AI and humans. Similar to premises surrounding Tesla vehicles, Tesla Bot and SpaceX missions.
In response to a question on Twitter, Musk explained that Neuralink brain implants would completely cure nerve-based issues like Tinnitus. With the implant aiming to have complete control over nerves, quirks that rely on misfiring nerves could be fixed. Musk claims that the fix for a nerve issue as small as Tinnitus is just five years away.
“Definitely. Might be less than 5 years away, as current version Neuralinks are semi-generalized neural read/write devices with ~1000 electrodes and tinnitus probably needs <<1000,” he said. “Future gen Neuralinks will increase electrode count by many orders of magnitude.”
In a prior interview on TED, Musk claimed that Neuralink would be used to cure common health conditions such as “morbid obesity”. Additionally, he claimed that increasingly common mental health conditions including depression, addiction and more would be fixed by the chip. When asked about fixing those issues, he said:
“For sure. This is both great and terrifying,” he said. “Everything we’ve ever sensed or thought has been electrical signals. The early universe was just a soup of quarks and leptons. How did a very small piece of the universe start to think of itself as sentient?”
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Is this possible?
The premise of Neuralink being able to take control of nerves and brain chemicals is theoretically possible. In animal testing, the technology has proven to be able to read the necessary information from a person’s brain. However, as of right now, it can't alter anything.
Of course, the controversies surrounding the technology have been actively discussed by scientists. From security issues to ethical discussions about changing brain activity, many are concerned as to how the technology will be exploited.