In pitching his controversial Neuralink product, Elon Musk has referenced Black Mirror and suggested that the future is going to be ‘weird’. Well, I’m satisfied.

 

 

Last Friday saw SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk open about his secretive startup, Neuralink, which, according to Futurism, is attempting to build an interface between human brains and computers. During the live event, Musk eerily invoked the comparison of what they’re working on to the dystopian science fiction show “Black Mirror”.

The remark came as a response to an audience member’s question to Musk regarding the possibility of the technology allowing users to save and replay memories.

“Yes, I think in the future you’ll be able to save and replay memories,” he said. “I mean, this is obviously sounding increasingly like a ‘Black Mirror’ episode. But I guess they’re pretty good at predicting.”

It is quite possible that the questioner had in mind the “Black Mirror” episode “The Entire History of You,” which features characters who are able to record and review all their memories (spoiler alert: the consequences are disastrous).

After his brief musing on “Black Mirror,” Musk continued to speculate that the technology could one day be used for mind transfer.

“You could upload, you could basically store your memories as a backup, and restore the memories, and ultimately you could potentially download them into a new body or a robot body,” Musk said. “The future’s going to be weird.”

 

“Our goal is to solve important brain and spine problems with a seamlessly implanted device,” Musk claimed at the event last week. He later added that “you could solve blindness, you could solve paralysis, you could solve hearing.” 

 

While Elon has not been shy about disclosing potential consumer-oriented applications for the technology, the concept for Neuralink’s flagship product was initially conceived as a medical device.

“Our goal is to solve important brain and spine problems with a seamlessly implanted device,” Musk claimed at the event last week. He later added that “you could solve blindness, you could solve paralysis, you could solve hearing.” 

The demo was centred around a device called “Link,” which seems to be the prototype version of the surgically-implanted hardware the company is developing. The electronic unit is the size of a coin and replaces a small piece of the user’s skull.

According to Musk, the device will have the capacity to both read and write information from the brain. 

“In a lot of ways, it’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull, with tiny wires,” said Musk. “I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t know.”

The principal part of the demo was the revelation that Neuralink has already installed prototypes of its hardware in a number of live pigs. On stage stood three of the pigs: one that had the “Link” device implanted, one that didn’t, and one that Musk claimed had previously had the device in its head, but which had later been removed.

“If you have a Neuralink, and then you decide you don’t want it, or you get an upgrade, you should be able to remove it,” Musk said.

A pre-recorded video of a pig on a treadmill stole the show. One overlay showed the actual position of its joints, while another overlay showed the position of the joints as interpreted by the Link unit in the pig’s brain—the two lined up almost perfectly.

While it is impossible to verify such claims made by Musk and co., there is no denying his grandiose vision for the device.

 

 

 

 

 

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