NEURALINK: The Latest Attempt at Merging Man and Machine

NEURALINK: The Latest Attempt at Merging Man and Machine

Ever thought how powerful it must be to be able to control your devices just by thinking. Wonder no more, as it is exactly what the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has set foot to accomplish with his new firm.

The firm, Neuralink, attempts to create a high bandwidth Brain-Machine Interface, which in essence is just a connection between a brain and a computer established through tiny (thinner than a hair strand and about the size of a neuron) electrodes implanted into the brain.

These electrodes can read the electrical impulses that occur when neurons communicate. Which means that your thoughts can be captured and stored. The ability to write information (instill data into the brain) is still being worked on.

Futuristic as this may seem, the technology already exists. Deep brain simulation employs this technique to treat patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but what Neuralink wants to achieve is on a whole other scale.


The company has 3 set of goals to accomplish

  • Treat patients of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, etc.
  • Give people the ability to control their devices by the act of thinking.
  • Achieve a symbiosis (exist in harmony) with AI.

In a hilarious comment during the first presentation of the company, Elon Musk said, “The monkey was able to control the computer". Which shows that animal testing of the product has already started. Human testing will start at the end of this year (2020), as Musk claimed.

What most people don’t realize that this interface already exists. Consider the fact that your phone or your computer is already an extension of you. Your memory and other cognitive functions are no longer limited to your biological brain.

But why doesn’t it feel that way? That’s because the act of retrieving the information from your mobile as well as adding to it is slow because you type with your fingers on a keyboard. That's the bandwidth problem Neuralink is trying to break.


It’s pretty self-evident how much of an impact AI has on our lives, the app we use to help us navigate through the city or the personalized advertisements we receive on Facebook are all optimized by AI. But it’s not General Intelligence, the kind that we’re afraid will turn on us.

When and if Artificial General Intelligence does come (article on this topic soon), to survive as a species we’d have to exist in symbiosis. The phrase, “if you can’t defeat them, join them” literally applies here.

Human beings have two brains. One is the limbic system (the emotional brain), which is smaller of the two, and the neocortex (the thinking brain) which sits right on top of the former.

With the help of Neuralink, we might be able to add a tertiary (third) brain which is controlled by the
AI but is accessible to us whenever needed. Put simply, it would allow anyone wearing the device to have superior thinking ability.

All this paints a rather dystopian picture, but pause and think about all the change this could bring about. Learning will no longer be necessary as all the information will already be inside our brains.

People with brain diseases will suffer no more. Advancements in science and technology will be exponential and most of all Neuralink might finally help us understand who we are, where we’re headed, and open our eyes to a higher level of consciousness.


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