Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed plans for his latest venture, Neuralink, which aims to connect human brains to a computer. Musk revealed the project in a recent interview with Wait But Why.
Neuralink is working on linking the human brain with a machine interface by developing “micron-sized devices.” Musk said the company has a product target date of four years for those with injuries.
“We are aiming to bring something to market that helps with certain severe brain injuries (stroke, cancer lesion, congenital) in about four years,” Musk said.
He confirmed in the interview he will be Neuralink’s CEO and will be part of the small team even though he has the least neuroscience technical knowledge in the group.
Musk met with more than 1,000 people to assemble the small Neuralink group, which, including him, is made up of nine members. Team members hail from IBM, Duke, University of California-Berkeley, UC-San Francisco and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
However, there are hurdles for Musk’s latest venture, and it could take time for human brain implants to happen. The company’s plan is to advance neural implant technology while they wait for regulations that allow for brain implants.
“I think we are about eight to 10 years away from this being usable by people with no disability,” Musk said in the interview. “It is important to note that this depends heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well our devices work on people with disabilities.”
Neuralink hopes to accelerate communication with implants by uploading thoughts straight to someone else’s brain, instead of translating them into language.
“If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy,” Musk said. “You wouldn’t need to verbalize unless you want to add a little flair to the conversation or something, but the conversation would be conceptual interaction on a level that’s difficult to conceive of right now.”
Musk also addressed the scary idea of telepathy and assured all your thoughts won’t be heard by everyone.
“People won’t be able to read your thoughts — you would have to will it. If you don’t will it, it doesn’t happen. Just like if you don’t will your mouth to talk, it doesn’t talk.”
Neuralink is hiring too, according to its site, describing itself as a company “developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.”