Elon Musk Launches Start-Up to Accelerate Neural Lace Development

Monday, March 27, 2017

Elon Musk Launches Start-Up to Accelerate Neural Lace Development

Neural Lace

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has a firm goal to implant tiny electrodes in human brains, and now has launched a start-up to tackle the problem. Neuralink, it will work on what Musk calls the 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Tesla, OpenAI and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is behind a new startup called Neuralink. While the details so far are scarce, the Internet is abuzz with excitement over Musk's latest venture into Singularity technology.

It has been reported that Neuralink is a biotech company registered in California, and it’s working to develop neural lace technology into something that could actually hit the market for consumers. The reports are that the technology has already been tested in mice.

Neuralink has already hired a number of top experts in the fields of flexible electrodes and brain physiology, though at this early stage the company is still taking its funding entirely from Musk himself.

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Neural lace is a concept first coined in Iain M. Banks Culture Series, where humans living on another planet install genetically engineered glands in their brains that can secrete stimulants, psychedelics and sedatives any time they like.

An approach to a neural lace system was published two years ago. The “syringe-injectable electronics” concept was invented by researchers in Charles Lieber’s lab at Harvard University and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing. It would involve injecting a biocompatible polymer scaffold mesh with attached microelectronic devices into the brain via syringe.

Lieber’s team of researchers has shown this in live mice and verified continuous monitoring and recordings of brain signals. “We have shown that mesh electronics with widths more than 30 times the needle ID can be injected and maintain a high yield of active electronic devices … little chronic immunoreactivity,” the researchers reported in their paper in Nature Nanotechnology. 

“In the future, our new approach and results could be extended in several directions, including the incorporation of multifunctional electronic devices and/or wireless interfaces to further increase the complexity of the injected electronics,” they wrote.

"We're trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits."
According to Lieber, "We're trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits."

Musk’s eventual aims for this technology are clear: The control of AI and robots with mental commands, for increases in both the speed and usefulness of interactions with artificial intelligence.

Musk first described neural lace as a brain-computer system that would link human brains with a computer interface. It would allow humans to achieve "symbiosis with machines" so they could communicate directly with computers without going through a physical interface.

Musk has said a neural lace will help prevent people from becoming "house cats" to artificial intelligence. If successful, neural lace may not only help cast the technology in a positive light, but present ethics boards with a real early reason to push past the risks of initial human testing. 

Once we’ve had human beings walking around for years with neural lace implants, regardless of why they got those implants in the first place, it will be much easier to pitch expansion of the procedure for other purposes.  This could be the beginning of the first true human internet, or Global Brain, where brain-to-brain interfaces are possible via injectable electronics that pass your mental traffic through the cloud.

Musk has promised more details soon through the site Wait But Why on Twitter:

SOURCE  Wall Street Journal (paywall), Top Image Lieber Research Group, Harvard University

By  33rd SquareEmbed


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