After interplanetary rockets, underground robot cars and calling his kid X Æ A-12, there really wasn’t much more that Elon Musk could do to surprise us. That is, until he told us that he’d just implanted a chip inside the brain of a pig.
We first heard about the Neuralink technology last year when Musk announced that he intended to develop a device that could allow you to control your mobile devices just by thinking about it. In a press conference last week, the Neuralink team shared an update on their innovation and demonstrated that they are one step closer to making this sci-fi plot a reality.
About the size of a large coin, The Link device is intended to be implanted into the human brain and act as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”. Despite assuring us, it’s a little more complex than this, Musk moves on to describe the everyday applications for such a technology. Neuralink’s mission is to create a device that, not only create a direct link between your brain and your everyday technology but also to provide solutions to people suffering from severe spinal cord injuries. In theory, it’s a pretty incredible technology that could offer a variety of benefits. In practice, we’re putting it at a one in four chance that everyone with brain chips will eventually turn on us and develop an insatiable appetite for human flesh.
Finally, to end his demonstration, Musk brings out his three little pigs. One without a Neuralink, one that has had a Neuralink removed and, finally, his prized piggy Gertrude who still has a Neuralink implanted into her brain. He feeds the pigs some food and chucks them on a treadmill to show how the technology can read brain function and his room of disciples claps and jeers appreciatively.
After the team gets past the pish-posh of human testing and government approval, there will undoubtedly be a line of cashed-up lunatics waiting to pay for the privilege to have a robot surgeon stitch over 1,000 wires into their brain. Musk predicts that potential applications could allow the saving and replaying of memories, the creation of neural stints to cure paraplegia and telepathically summoning your Tesla.
Would you let Elon mess around in your head?