In a shocking revelation on social media, Elon Musk announced on Monday that the first human patient received a brain implant developed by his company, Neuralink. Named “Telepathy”, the device marks a significant milestone in Neuralink’s quest for a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. This advancement is particularly exciting considering the years of delays and controversies surrounding the company.
Elon Musk has always stated that Neuralink's ultimate goal is to achieve a complete symbiosis with artificial intelligence. However, initially, the company is focused on a more modest goal – allowing paralyzed people to control a cursor or keyboard with their brains. The company is recruiting participants with quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who are at least 22 years of age.
The Study and Surgical Process
Neuralink plans to conduct a six-year study, recruiting participants and using an in-house developed surgical robot to implant the device in the brain. This coin-sized device is designed to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes them. Elon Musk shared that the patient is recovering well, and initial results show promising detection of neuronal spikes.
Comparison with Other BCIs
Although this patient is not the first to receive a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), the wireless approach and the more than 1,000 electrodes distributed by Neuralink represent notable advances over previous systems. While other companies, such as Synchron, have already implemented BCIs, Neuralink stands out with the promise of a more advanced wireless interface and numerous electrodes.
Controversies and Challenges
However, Neuralink's journey has not been without controversy. The company has faced criticism for its treatment of research animals, including the deaths of monkeys during brain implant trials. A federal investigation is ongoing, and recently, Neuralink was fined for violating US Department of Transportation regulations.
Conclusion and Future Perspectives
While specific details about the study location and number of participants are still scarce, Neuralink is blazing a path that could redefine the intersection between technology and the human brain. This advancement not only represents a critical milestone for Neuralink, but also for the emerging field of brain-machine interfaces. As we await more information, the promise of brain control and telepathic communication seems more tangible than ever.