Elon Musk's Neuralink Brain Interface Demo

This is a great talk / demo of Neuralink's implantable brain-machine interface.  Elon Musk gives the initial overview talk (which is a great overview of neural computer interfaces in general), and then Neuralink engineers answer questions from the room and the web. 

The Neuralink interface currently is the size of a small coin, and a robot surgeon that Neuralink also manufactures inserts it into your scull.  The robot also inserts the individual electrodes into the brain while monitoring that process to avoid puncturing any blood vessels while doing that.  So for being such an invasive device, it's surprisingly non-invasive. 

The current generation of devices is shown working in a cute pig.  Another cute pig who had the device in it's scull and then had it removed is also shown.  Pigs seem happy and healthy.  Neuralink is on fast track with the FDA to get this approved for use in humans.  Otherwise pigs will be the ones talking to our AI overlords via direct neural interconnect.

When Elon talks about the scalability of the device and associated wiring electrodes being scalable like moore's law integrated circuit technology, pay attention.  When he talks about all of the different problems this interface can address, be a little bit more critical. 

Monitoring sensory input or muscle movements in the cortex, curing retinal blindness or deficient hair cells in the auditory system, absolutely.  Understanding what people are thinking in rapid train of thought and piping that understanding directly into the computer, restoring all of your memories, not quite so fast.

Everything in the first part we know maps to non-linear maps represented in specific areas of the cortex.  The second category of wish list items, we don't know how they work yet.  If they end up just being more multi-dimensionally contorted localilzed cortex maps, then sure.  Otherwise, we need to figure out how they actually work before we can interface to them.  But devices like Neuralink might help us do that figuring out part.

I also think the whole concept of how the company is setup is fascinating, and very reminiscent of high tech companies during the golden age of USA manufacturing.  They are doing everything in house.   The entire technology stack.  All the way down to making the custom materials necessary to build it, making wires, welding glass, etc.  An amazing confluence of different areas of high tech all brought together, and everyone there very much devoted to this get-it-done DIY philosophy.  And probably necessary to pull off what they are trying to do.


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