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Elon Musk discussed the latest achievement of his startup, Neuralink, in an interview earlier this week on Clubhouse.
What To Know: In the interview, later released on YouTube, Musk said scientists at Neuralink had successfully wired a chip to a monkey’s brain allowing it to play video games with its mind. Musk, who is CEO of Neuralink, SpaceX and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), said the company plans to release video of the monkey in about a month.
The device, which Musk explained is like a “Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires,” has the potential to help humans who have suffered brain injuries. Although Musk surmised in the interview the device could eventually be used as a “save state” application allowing humans who have died to live on in another human or robot, he said the short-term practical application is “a wireless implanted chip that would enable someone who is a quadriplegic or tetraplegic to control a computer or mouse or a phone or really any device just by thinking.”
Musk said the chip was not at all visible and the monkey is “not uncomfortable and he doesn’t look weird.”
Why It's Important: In August 2020, Neuralink performed a live demonstration of the chip on three pigs showing real-time neural signals being fired in one of the pig’s brains, named Gertrude by Musk. That same month, Musk also stated the initial human applications of the chip would be to help people with physical disabilities such as Parkinson’s disease, vision or hearing loss, or paralysis.
In the most recent animal test, Musk said the company “went the extra mile for the monkeys.” He implied animal cruelty is not an issue with the experiments and said “when the USDA person came through and inspected our monkey facility, she said it was the nicest monkey facility she's ever seen in her entire career.”
Musk ended the segment by speaking about future tests of the chip on monkeys and mused, “Can we have the monkeys play mind Pong with each other? That would be really cool.”
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