france animal zoo tourism

JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIERGetty Images

  • In an interview on Sunday, Elon Musk said a Neuralink test monkey can play video games with its mind.
  • There’s no hard proof for Musk’s claim—yet—but last year, Musk revealed Neuralink test pigs with similar brain implants in place.
  • Musk’s overarching cybernetic goal for Neuralink is to fuse together human-computer interaction in a more efficient manner.

    In a late-night interview on Sunday, Elon Musk revealed his brain implant startup Neuralink has successfully embedded its proprietary chip into a monkey’s brain, allowing it to play video games. So, you know … just an average Sunday night for the exceedingly busy billionaire.

    You love Elon Musk’s crazy ideas. So do we. Let’s nerd out over them together.

    “We’ve already got a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull, and the tiny wires, who can play video games using his mind,” Musk said during an all-encompassing interview with The Good Time Show, a tech show on the invite-only Clubhouse app. Listen to the full interview in the video below (the Neuralink portion starts at around the 25-minute mark).

    This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    “Can we have the monkeys play mind Pong with each other?” Musk mused. He’s not an unhappy monkey, Musk continued, and you can’t even see the site where the Neuralink team placed the implant in its skull, with the exception of a Mohawk-style haircut.

    When a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which enforces the Animal Welfare Act) came to check out Neuralink’s operations, “she said it was like the nicest monkey facilities she’s ever seen in her entire career,” according to Musk.

    But the goal with Neuralink isn’t to train monkeys to play video games—it’s to decrease the latency in human-machine communication.

    This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    “People are already a cyborg in that you already have a tertiary digital layer,” Musk explained. He described two biological layers to the human brain, including the limbic system, which controls your primitive drives and desires, and the cortex, which deals with executive functions like long-term planning. The third layer, Musk said, is the smartphone in your hand and all of the information that you can harness through it.

    The problem? “The bandwidth between your cortex and your digital tertiary layer is very slow, and in fact with the advent of phones, it got even slower,” Musk said. “At a certain point, the computer gets smart enough [that] it’s like the computer is like trying to talk to a tree.”

    Translation: Our brains don’t talk to computers fast enough.


    ➡ Stuff We Love: The Best AI Books


    Brain power is wasted in taking a thought, compressing it into a few words, and communicating it to another person who must then decompress the words into a thought, Musk said. But with a direct neural interface like the one that Neuralink is working on, it could be possible to improve this so-called “bandwidth” between your cortex and the digital world by up to 1,000 orders of magnitude, Musk estimated.

    “If two people had a Neuralink,” he said, “you could do conceptual telepathy, where you have a complex series of concepts and you can just transfer them directly, uncompressed, to the other person, which would massively improve communication and the speed of it.”

    neuralink implant

    Neuralink

    The applications could go into even murkier sci-fi territory, with the ability to essentially upload your consciousness into a robot or, theoretically, another person’s brain. Like a video game, Musk said, you could access the most recent save data.

    In all fairness, Musk’s goals can seem amorphous and esoteric at times, and this concept is no exception. In the most recent update from Neuralink, the company showed off a few pigs with Neuralink implants. The implant’s 1,024 electrodes successfully picked up on the brain activity in a pig named Gertrude, pointing to stimulation she received from her environment, be it food or just sniffing around in the hay.


    ➡ Stuff We Love: Musk Merch


    That’s a far cry from getting a pig to control a video game with its mind, but it’s more in line with the company’s short-term goals. Musk hopes to use the Neuralink implant to help patients with brain injuries and spinal injuries. The implant, he said, could help a quadriplegic person to control an electronic device just by thinking.

    “It’s sort of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires that go to your brain,” Musk said. And that aligns with another vision: using the Nerualink to stream music directly to your brain.

    Neuralink’s next progress update should be coming down the pipeline in the next month or so, Musk said. If Neuralink is really getting monkeys to, well, monkey around with video games—a claim for which the jury is still out until we see some evidence—that’s seriously promising leg work toward those short-term goals.

    In any case, we’ll be patiently awaiting our first Pong match with a monkey.


    🎥 Now Watch This:

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io