Elon Musk's Neuralink unveils groundbreaking new brain implant, promises to make humans 'a non-invasive species'

Neuralink unveils new prototype, aims to start trials in humans soon

Elon Musk's medical research company Neuralink has unveiled a new version of its brain implant, which promises to help people deal with neurological conditions and restore sensory functionality.

Musk revealed the new prototype at a company event held at the Castle in California on Friday, demonstrating how the device, version 0.2, would help improve the company's previous offering, version 0.1, which was unveiled last year.

"This is a major leap forward," Musk said during the presentation, "Neuralink's mission is to build the best brain-machine interface. Ultimately, the long-term goal is to create a symbiosis with artificial intelligence, melding the biological brain with digital intelligence."

The new prototype is 30% smaller than the previous version and consists of a "flexible array of micro-threads" that is inserted into the brain through a small hole made by a precision surgical robot. According to Musk, the threads are "flexible, to conform to the cortex, and has multiple electrodes per thread."

Neuralink is targeting restoring vision through the optic nerve and intends to conduct human trials pending regulatory approval. The company is also working on hearing, through the cochlear nerve, and hopes to restore motor functions for people dealing with neurological conditions, like Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.

"If you can sense what is happening in the outside world and stimulate the appropriate regions of the brain, you can help with Parkinson's, epilepsy, and many other problems," Musk said. "Essentially, the brain is a biological computer, it's actually the best computer that we know of, and you can actually just interface with it."

During the demonstration, Musk showed off a video of a monkey, named Pager, playing a game of Pong with a Neuralink implant. Pager, who was first introduced to the world in 2019, has undergone extensive testing with the company's previous brain-machine interface.

According to a post on Twitter, Neuralink has submitted most of its implant designs to the FDA for approval, and is awaiting feedback. If approved, the company hopes to start human trials by the end of this year.

Musk believes that the applications of the technology go beyond helping those with neurological conditions. "Once you have the neural link, everything is possible," he said during the event, "You could basically have superpowers in the future."

He even spoke of a future where humans become "a non-invasive species" through the merger of biological and digital intelligence, a concept which he says would be akin to "creating a symbiotic relationship with artificial intelligence."

"I think it's pretty obvious that we're going to have some kind of a merger with AI," he said, "It's mostly about the speed of the connection, because once you have a super powerful computer connected to your brain, everything you perceive, everything you sense, everything you feel, will be amplified."

This latest demonstration from Neuralink shows an improvement on the technology revealed in 2019 and sheds more light on Musk's vision for the future of the company and its place in the world.

Last week, Musk commented on the potential implications of the technology, suggesting it could remove cognitive disabilities and enhance human intelligence, as well as merging humans and computers.

"There are really two major categories of activity you can do with this," he said, "One is to restore functionality for people who have neurological damage, like loss of vision, loss of hearing, loss of motor control, things like that. And the other is to enhance: give superhuman sight, superhuman hearing, maybe even superhuman thinking."

Title: Neuralink promises 'symbiosis with AI' through brain implant

Content: Neuralink, the company founded by Elon Musk in 2016, has unveiled its innovative new brain implant, promising to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and each other.

The new prototype, dubbed "Version 0.2", improves upon the previous version with a 30% reduction in size and boasts a flexible array of micro-threads that can be inserted into the brain through tiny holes made by a precision surgical robot.

According to Musk, the ultimate goal of Neuralink's technology is to create "a symbiosis with artificial intelligence," where the biological brain merges with digital intelligence, enabling humans to enhance their sensory experiences and even regain functionality for those with neurological conditions.

During the presentation, Musk showcased a video featuring a monkey named Pager, who was previously introduced in 2019, playing a game of Pong using a Neuralink implant. This demonstration showed how the implant can restore vision and even motor functions for those in need.

Neuralink has already submitted most of its implant designs to the FDA for approval and is awaiting further feedback before proceeding with human trials, which it hopes to begin by the end of 2023.

While the potential applications of this technology are vast, Musk emphasized two key areas: restoring functionality for those with neurological conditions and enhancing human abilities beyond our natural senses.

Regarding the latter, Musk suggested that with a "brain-machine interface," our senses could be amplified to become "superhuman."

This revolutionary breakthrough has the potential to not only change the way we interact with technology but also reshape the human experience and even prolong our species' longevity amid scientific advancements.

As with any disruptive technology, regulations and ethical considerations will play a crucial role in ensuring that Neuralink's innovations are safely harnessed for the betterment of humanity.

Keywords: Neuroscience; Technology; Innovation; Science; Health; Elon Musk; Neuralink; Brain Implant; AI; Robotics; Neurotech; Optics; Hearing; Parkinson's Disease; Epilepsy; MS; Vision Restoration; Disability; Superhuman; Neurotech; DARPA; Neuro-Enhancement; Cybernetics; Biohacking.

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