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Science Technology

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink To Connect Brains With Computers (businessinsider.com) 120

At Recode's conference last year, Elon Musk said he would love to see someone do something about linking human brains with computers. With no other human being volunteering, Mr. Musk -- who founded PayPal and OpenAI, thought of Hyperloop, is working on a boring company, and runs SpaceX, TeslaX, SolarCity -- is now working on it. From a report on WSJ: Internal sources tell the WSJ that the company, called Neuralink, is developing "neural lace" technology that would allow people to communicate directly with machines without going through a physical interface. Neural lace involves implanting electrodes in the brain so people could upload or download their thoughts to or from a computer, according to the WSJ report. The product could allow humans to achieve higher levels of cognitive function. From WSJ's report (paywalled): The founder and chief executive of Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies Corp.has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts. Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement.
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Elon Musk Launches Neuralink To Connect Brains With Computers

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  • Find out how many times you can ghost dub an augmented cyberbrain before the owner becomes catatonic.

    • with scatter-shot associative activations

      isn't it much better to just have the computer listen to what's on our mind after we've focussed it into a coherent intent or action-story.

      In other words, isn't it better to just have the computer listen to us speak, and sense our intentional motions. Yes, trackpad, touchpad, haptic glove I'm talking about you.

      If they're trying to say the computer could directly interact with the neocortex to provide additional associative memory capacity, I'm skeptical. The brain fo

  • Actual article (Score:4, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday March 27, 2017 @03:15PM (#54121295)

    Original article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/e... [wsj.com] (WSJ paywall)

    Other coverage: http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

  • Worked great for the user

  • by Anonymous Coward

    so the ship to Mars will be like a Borg cube?

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday March 27, 2017 @03:20PM (#54121333) Journal
    We can't even secure our non-brain-connected computers, devices, vehicles, etc, from outside intrusion, why in the world would I want to open the door for someone to hack my brain through a computer? Thanks, but no thanks. I'll leave my brain standalone and air-gapped from computers and the internet. The last thing anyone needs is some script-kiddie deciding to brick someone's head for the lulz. Also this would potentially redefine what a 'botnet' is. Nope, nope, nope.
    • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Monday March 27, 2017 @03:39PM (#54121493) Homepage Journal

      You wouldn't get your brain hacked, that's silly. It would just be a better version of the currently existing human interface (keyboard input, VGA output).

      If your desktop gets hacked, you don't worry about someone hacking your fingers or eyeballs, do you? Well with this brain interface if your computer gets hacked, the worst thing would happen is that the hacker would beam annoying images directly to your brain (instead of displaying it on your VGA monitor) and maybe fuck around with your keyboard mappings so your brainwave commands to the computer don't work properly.

      Solution to a hacked PC would be to disconnect it from your brain electrode and de-hack your PC manually, or get another PC.

      Hopefully the connection from PC to your brain would be wireless, so a hacker can't actually zap your brain with electrical voltage. But even if it's wired, you could put a good mechanical fuse or circuit breaker in between the PC and your brain so only tolerable voltages are ever transmitted.

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        i wonder if this will enable Eula reading which may or may not reference the read only clause of brain.

      • Sure, in this iteration of the idea. What about the next?
      • by flink ( 18449 )

        You wouldn't get your brain hacked, that's silly. It would just be a better version of the currently existing human interface (keyboard input, VGA output).

        There is evidence that the right kind of sensory input can damage, or at least rewire, your brain. Look up the McCollough Effect. I imagine that once we understood the visual cortex well enough to be injecting images directly into our optic nerve, we might be able to figure out more nefarious memetic hazards.

        • Here's a trivial but functional example of what you're talking about: https://img.ifcdn.com/images/4... [ifcdn.com]
          If your brain can't be hacked via sensory inputs, then why does this do anything at all?
        • by perew ( 1664869 )

          I imagine that once we understood the visual cortex well enough to be injecting images directly into our optic nerve, we might be able to figure out more nefarious memetic hazards.

          This would give new meaning to "Once seen, you can never unsee it."

      • Well with this brain interface if your computer gets hacked, the worst thing would happen is that the hacker would beam annoying images directly to your brain

        Having goatse beamed directly into your brain is quite serious.

      • You wouldn't get your brain hacked, that's silly. ...

        Well with this brain interface if your computer gets hacked, the worst thing would happen is that the hacker would beam annoying images directly to your brain (instead of displaying it on your VGA monitor) and maybe fuck around with your keyboard mappings so your brainwave commands to the computer don't work properly....

        Hopefully the connection from PC to your brain would be wireless, so a hacker can't actually zap your brain with electrical voltage. But even if it's wired, you could put a good mechanical fuse or circuit breaker in between the PC and your brain so only tolerable voltages are ever transmitted.

        So, someone could put images directly into my brain? You do realize that most of our thoughts are images? If someone can control the images in your mind, you are effectively under their control. Schizophrenics complain about the images, also the voices, they do dangerous violent things because of these influences. Not as benign and lulzy as you make it out to be.

        A brain zap could be used as reinforcement when planting commands and reinforcing ideas, it would not have to go beyond the tolerable level to

      • If my desktop gets hacked and they decide to change my wallpaper to goatse, yeah I do worry about my eyeballs getting hacked.

        You can't unsee some things.

      • If your desktop gets hacked, you don't worry about someone hacking your fingers or eyeballs, do you?

        You don't seem to have met many Breitbart readers.

    • Burn: Cycle [youtube.com]
    • We can't even secure our non-brain-connected computers, devices, vehicles, etc, from outside intrusion,

      Nobody is making you use those things. I use a smarterphone (aka a "dumbphone") with an uninteresting OS, my car has no wireless connectivity and both my desktop PC and router which run Linux have never been compromised.

      why in the world would I want to open the door for someone to hack my brain through a computer?

      At this point it's merely researching the possibility. Why do you think any medical-grade product made from this would be internet connected?

      I'll leave my brain standalone and air-gapped from computers

      If you live to see the resulting product, you may change your mind when everyone has perfect memory and significantly high cognition than you. You c

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday March 27, 2017 @03:20PM (#54121335)

    Kudos for starting, but it's a long long road from reading electrical signals from implanted electrodes to:

    A) an implant that you would actually want to live with in normal life (relatively free of complications, side effects, long life, replaceable when it malfunctions, etc.)

    B) a quality of communication that exceeds simple demonstration of concept low bandwidth gimmicks

    These types of bio-electrical neural-computer interfaces are starting to bear fruit for the profoundly blind, deaf, and amputees - cases where they have nothing and anything is an infinite improvement. Moving from that (today's) stage to improvement over normal function will take decades of development, and investors who don't care for much resembling profits or ROI in the meantime. Patents they might file today will likely expire before the patented idea generates any profits.

    Again, kudos for starting, we've already got the Hollywood take on what this tech might do, and we can tell from our (currently crude) cellphone interfaces to the web what a small sliver of the potential could be. It will be awesome when it gets here - but I might require major advances in life extension if I'm going to see it get "better than normal."

    • You do realize this is bullshit. Total snake oil. It is not the same as a prosthetic device.

      So please just fuck off and let real people do real science without all this bullshit.
  • for this thing to BSOD
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 27, 2017 @03:29PM (#54121403)
  • "neural lace" technology that would allow people to communicate directly with machines without going through a physical interface

    And immediately afterward, they say:

    Neural lace involves implanting electrodes in the brain...

    So it's pretty clear that not only is there a physical interface, the electrodes, but this interface is pretty darn invasive because you have to have it implanted in your skull.

    • I suspect by physical interface they mean something you interact with physically, rather than directly - ie you push buttons with your fingers on a keyboard, you receive images via a monitor that converts them into photons, etc. It's awkward language, but I'm not sure there's a "correct" way beyond calling the brain link something awful like "really, really, direct."
      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        so your choice is to use a KB/mouse or get surgery for brain implants... yeah that sounds goodish

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        My point is that that I'd rather have an artificial external interface than an artificial internal one
  • Musk is very adverse to AI's doing these functions. Maybe neural laces will give humans enough of an advantage that they stop wanting strong AI.

    This might be the most important article you read this week: http://www.vanityfair.com/news... [vanityfair.com]

  • This is a good opportunity to loop the tape.

    Christopher Walken fans know what I'm talking about. ;-)
    • I *think* that scene was Cliff Robertson. Didn't see this until I had posted, but that kind of sacred the shit out of me...
      • I *think* that scene was Cliff Robertson. Didn't see this until I had posted, but that kind of sacred the shit out of me...

        "Brainstorm" - with Christopher Walken.

  • ... a headphone jack. So I guess Apple won't support this.

  • Elon Musk in the time-traveling Jack the Ripper from the future who fled backwards in time to us.
    Now he needs the technology to build his own time machine and does this step by step by 'inventing' the necessary parts.

    • Elon Musk in the time-traveling Jack the Ripper from the future who fled backwards in time to us. Now he needs the technology to build his own time machine and does this step by step by 'inventing' the necessary parts.

      He already has one, but it's on Mars. A few trivial repairs, some power batteries, and interface method and his plans can come to completion.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I read somewhere about a theory that Elon Musk is actually an alien stranded on Earth and he's trying to advance human civilization to the point where he can build a spaceship and return to his home. I'm beginning to believe it.

  • this project [scientificamerican.com] helping a woman locked in by ALS.
  • Hooking up a bunch of electrodes is not that simple. You might have hundreds, maybe thousands of points to connect, just to start to get things going. (That is, if you could figure out where they are)..And even if you could map the neural pathways of a human brain. Are the paths all the same in each brain? General paths? Yes. Individual paths? I doubt it. Due to brain plasticity it would make things even harder. A brain is not a mass production motherboard.
  • I remember a long time ago a person I used to know had an uncle who needed brain surgery. The surgery went fantastically well. But he died from brain fungus. You are at risk, any time you open the skull. I did a search on Google to see if they have solved the problem, but the results were very discouraging. One was quite unnerving! http://www.livescience.com/477... [livescience.com]
  • Some patient really need brain electrodes. For the others, it looks like a bad idea to introduce an alien substance that will increase the risk of microbes creating biofilms [wikipedia.org]. As Wikipedia notes (with a reference): "60-70% of nosocomial or hospital acquired infections are associated with the implantation of a biomedical device"
  • There are serious technological and social problems that come with this.

    Firstly, security on one's brainwaves is critical. While current technology allows pretty coarse-grained analysis of brainwaves, that will change. When it does, those coarse-grained waveforms will be reanalyzed to delve deeper.

    Secondly, what protections exist for biometric data? In a world where the state is trying to *reduce* encryption, protection of biometric information (ESPECIALLY brainwaves) is critical. It doesn't get
  • Does anyone remember the movie "Brainstorm" (1983)? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00... [imdb.com] It was about a direct way to record and replay experiences to and from the brain with sensory input and everything else as a real memory. There was a scene where the executive is replaying a scene of a romp with two hookers. it was clear the dopamine (or whatever) addled high had completely broken him. As a 16 year old with a mattress full of Playboys, my first thought was "That's scary, not really sure I want that."
  • But why doesn't he focus on getting us all in electric cars that we can ALL afford? >$30k?

  • And in not-so-far future we can expect a lot of sudden pornography, when user starts daydreaming

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