In a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast (yes, the same where he smoked weed), Elon Musk said that he will soon announce a Neuralink product that can make anyone superhuman by connecting their brains to a computer, CNBC reports.
Current brain interfacing technology allows a slow information flow between brains and machines, but Neuralink wants to make brain-computer interfaces (BCI) much faster. “We need to make that tiny straw like a giant river, a huge, high-bandwidth interface,” said Musk.
"I think we'll have something interesting to announce in a few months ... that's better than anyone thinks is possible," said Musk. "Best case scenario, we effectively merge with AI [Artificial Intelligence]."
In fact, the end-point of this technology is the fusion of organic and machine intelligence. Musk is known for his fear of runaway AIs exterminating humanity, and from this perspective merging with AIs seems a good strategy.
Musk is persuaded that his new high-performance brain-computer interfacing technology could bring about mind uploading - the transfer of a functioning human mind to an alternative computing substrate. "If your biological self dies, you can upload into a new unit,” said Musk. “Literally."
I agree with Musk’s long-term vision of mind uploading and human-machine fusion through high-speed BCI. Of course, this is not even an announcement but a pre-preannouncement, perhaps made in an artificially over-optimistic state, so we shouldn’t hold our breath quite yet.
Artificial synapses for brain-like devices. Researchers led by Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) have developed an artificial synaptic device that mimics the function of the nerve cells (neurons) and synapses that are responsible for memory in human brains. According to the scientists the research results, published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, could lead to advances in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and brain-like semiconductors.
Tracking chemistry at work in the brain. Researchers at UC Los Angeles and Columbia University have developed a method for tracking the activity of small molecules in the brain, including the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. A study published in Science describes how, by pairing tiny artificial receptors with semiconductor devices that are able to function in living tissue, the scientists were able to observe brain chemicals at a high level of detail. The scientists are persuaded that the research results have a potential to permit better understanding of how the brain processes information through different neurotransmitters.
Damaged DNA in skin cells triggers immune response. Researchers led by Lancaster University scientists have discovered how skin cells alert the immune system when their DNA is damaged in the absence of infection. This DNA damage can come from a variety of sources, such as the sun's UV rays, chemical agents like cigarette smoke, or from genotoxic drugs used in chemotherapy. A study published in Molecular Cell shows that DNA damage can lead to an immune response similar to that observed during viral infection. According to the scientists, after further studies this discovery may be used for medical applications, for instance in cancer immunotherapy.
Toward understanding how genetic mutations drive metastatic cancer growth. Scientists at Stanford University and other collaborating institutions have arrived at a key understanding about how cancers in individual patients spread, or metastasize. A research paper published in Science shows that mutations that drive cancer growth are common among metastases in a single patient. The findings suggest that the same gene mutations are responsible for all metastases of a cancer patient, and targeting the mutations that lead to cancer metastatic growth could lead to more effective cancer therapies.
Genetic factors responsible for long human lifespan identified. Researchers led by scientists at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), in collaboration with researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the University of Bristol and the University of Liverpool, have identified some of the genes that may have been crucial in extending the life of our species, as well as that of primates with a longer lifespan. The findings are detailed in a study published in Molecular Biology & Evolution and featured on the journal’s front cover. The scientists suggest that the results could lead to new therapeutic targets for treating aging-related diseases.