Elon Musk’s next venture may link human brains with computers

Could humans someday use their thoughts to communicate with their cars?

brain nerves connections
A Health Blog (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk today indicated he may be helping a new company that would develop technology that lets humans communicate their thoughts to computers.

While Musk hasn't made many details about the new venture public, he included the name "Neuralink" in a tweet.

Elon Musk Neurolink Twitter

In that post, Musk alluded to information about his plans that would be released on the blog site, WaitButWhy.

WaitButWhy, whose co-founder and principal writer is Tim Urban, has published a series of interviews with Musk about his companies and the industries in which they exist.

"Long Neuralink piece coming out on @waitbutwhy in about a week. Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to," Musk wrote.

Registered as a medical research company, California-based Neuralink Corp., is developing what Musk has referred to as a "neural lace" technology, which would implant small electrodes in a person's brain that would then upload and download thoughts, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

"Elon Musk is starting a new company," Urban wrote on WaitButWhy. "It's a really extremely cool company and I can't wait to tell you about it. I was given the lowdown about it earlier this month and have been rapid-fire learning ever since. Turns out the brain is obnoxiously not simple. But don't worry, there's a deadline."

Musk's tweet today is not his first alluding to the concept of technology that could link a person's cognitive thoughts to a computer.

At the Code Conference last year, Musk said: "Something I think is going to be quite important...is a neural lace."

The term "Neural Lace" was first coined by the science fiction author Iain M Banks in his Culture novels, and refers to a mesh of electronic input-output devices that grow to become part of a human's brain.

In 2014, the peer-reviewed journal Nature Nanotechnology published research around syringe-injectable electronics that could reside in regions of the brain and could record neural functions.

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