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ELON MUSK: From Tesla To Transhumanism

21st Century Wire says…

We remember in the blockbuster movie ‘The Matrix‘, where Neo gets connected via a port implanted into the back of his head and then a line is established to upload him into the Matrix itself. Well, entrepreneur billionaire Elon Musk has launched a company called ‘Neuralink’ which is pursuing ‘brain-computer interfacing’ better known as ‘neural lacing’ which consists of implanting tiny brain electrodes that will one day be able upload and download thoughts.

This is not science fiction, this is becoming factual reality and quicker than we’ve thought, excuse the pun. Consider the latest movie about transhumanism called ‘Transcendence’ starring Johnny Depp, and you’ll get a taste of what we’re talking about here. For some like Ray Kurzweil, this is a ‘dream’ but for others, a nightmare for human kind.

More on this report from Zero Hedge…

TH
Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge

In case revolutionizing the transportation and energy industries while colonizing Mars wasn’t enough of a challenge for Elon Musk (or perhaps taxpayer subsidies for Musk’s ventures in those fields have dried up) in his latest venture the billionaire entrepreneur now “wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.” Specifically, the WSJ has uncovered that Musk has launched another company called Neuralink, which is pursuing what Musk calls “neural lace” technology, which is shorthand for a brain-computer interface and consists of implanting tiny brain electrodes that will one day be able upload and download thoughts.

Think the 2014 Johnny Depp movie Transcendence.

Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink’s plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses. While Musk did not comment on the story, Max Hodak, who said he is a “member of the founding team,” confirmed not only the company’s existence but also Musk’s involvement. He described the company as “embryonic” and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Investors in Musk’s current ventures may not be particularly pleased to learn that the inventor has found yet another distraction from his already ambitious, and in the case of Tesla, lofty and overvalued goals. Currently, the 45-year-old Paypal founder splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop. And, the WSJ notes, somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

Musk had previously hinted at the existence of Neuralink a few times over the last six months or so. As The Verge notes, recently Musk told a crowd in Dubai, Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He added that “it’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.” On Twitter, Musk has responded to inquiring fans about his progress on the so-called “neural lace,” which is sci-fi shorthand for a brain-computer interface humans could use to improve themselves.

If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot,” he said at a conference last June. The solution he proposed was a “direct cortical interface”—essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain—that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Verge notes that Kernel is upfront about the years of medical research necessary to better understand the human brain and pioneer new surgery techniques, software methods, and implant devices that could make a consumer brain-computer interface a reality. The Wall Street Journal says Neuralink was founded as a medical research company in California last July, which bolsters the idea that Musk will follow a similar route as Johnson and Kernel.

Meanwhile, Musk appears to be aggressively growing the new venture.

In recent weeks, Neuralink has reportedly hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects. The company’s first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease…

Continue this story at Zero Hedge

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  • StefAn

    Hopefully this will help this sector to grow and develop. It might lead to similar gains like investments in inventions like artificial heart valves or artificial limbs in the past. Kudos to Elon Musk for helping this industry to grow.