In a complete ramp-up of what was happening behind the scenes at Elon Musk’s Neuralink, it is imperative that all eyes are glued on the company as they unveil their latest event to update the public of their brain chip’s progress.
In an hour-long live webcast aired August 28th, the tech mogul and his team gave the watching public updates of the company and its plans to devise a working brain-to-machine interface device.
In a report from the BBC, it shared that during the live unveiling, the company has introduced a living pig with a working prototype of the brain chip inserted into its brain. Named Gertrude, she was one of the three pigs in the pen that was broadcasted live for the whole world to see.
The pig didn’t go along with the team at first during the presentation but when it was given a few straws to munch on, a graph was shown to which according to them was a representation of the neural activity inside her brain.
As BBC suggests, the graph is evidence that the brain chip, which they call ‘The Link’, is working – the chip inside the pig’s brain is able to send wireless signals when she munched on some food and was able to transmit it to a display device.
With that in mind, Musk referred to it as a ‘Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires’. Compared to what was announced a year ago, the one used in the presentation was smaller and simpler. “It actually fits quite nicely in your skull,” he was quoted saying on the same BBC article. He added that it can be even under one’s hair and it would remain unnoticeable – a declaration of its lightweight and petite build.
What is the experts’ take on it?
As several technology enthusiasts and Elon Musk superfans shared positive comments during the live stream, specialists have other things to say regarding this latest development.
Before the live webcast, the BBC got in touch with Ari Benjamin from the Kording Lab or the University of Pennsylvania. He suggested that the real hurdle the company will need to overcome is the complex nature of the human brain. Benjamin welcomed the team’s progress, being able to do recordings of the brain’s activity, however, he stressed that they need to understand what these codes mean as well in order to move forward with their study.
Not only that but we have reported earlier that several experts have raised fears that technologies like this may be prone to cybersecurity attacks should it materialize and be of use in the future.
Early on, Elon Musk claims that the brain chip will help specialists treat several neurological conditions such as addiction and depression. But with the company’s larger and more ambitious plans, such as making the chips able to stream music directly to our brains – it has definitely caught on the attention it deserves.
With the company investing its resources and including a pool of talented people on their team to push through with the project head-on, we may be able to see a working prototype of the brain chip sooner or later. In fact, it may happen sooner than we think as it was reported that Neuralink has applied to conduct human trials last year. Gertrude and her debut will just be the prelude of something big that is yet to come for the company and the scientific community.