[YesAuto New Energy] Super broadcast, every week. This week, the news topics in the circle are relatively flat, there are not many new cars, and the incidents are rare. Let us look at something more interesting. On the morning of August 29th, Beijing time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced this week the latest development of “brain-computer interface chips”. After building smart cars and manned rockets, he implanted chips in his brain to transmit information. It has become another pioneering technology field that Musk has entered.
This week, “Forbes” real-time billionaire list information shows that Elon Musk's net worth exceeded $100 billion this Friday, ranking fifth in the rankings because of Tesla This year’s stock price has soared by more than 400%. Most of Musk's wealth comes from his 21% stake in Tesla. In the process of wealth upgrading, Musk is still increasing the exploration of innovative technologies. For example, Neuralink, which he invested in, released the latest “brain-computer chips” on Saturday morning.
On August 29, Beijing time, Musk announced the latest chip device LINK V0.9 from the brain-computer interface startup Neuralink. This chip, called Link, is only the size of a coin, can last for a day, and supports wireless charging. With the help of automated surgical robots equipped with computer vision and other technologies, the brain chip implantation operation can be completed within 30 minutes, and the hospital can be discharged on the same day. At the same time, experiments have proved that the chip can be taken out at any time and the implantation operation is reversible.
The size of the LINK V0.9 chip is 23mm×8mm, which is smaller than a coin. The implant position is flush with the skull. It can be inserted into the small hole of the user's skull and collect brain signals. The wireless transmission range is 5-10 meters. The chip can provide inductive charging and 24-hour battery life, and the implanter can inductively charge it while sleeping.
Musk said at the press conference that humans have different neurological problems, including memory loss, hearing and vision loss, and some nerve damage inside the brain, such as depression or stroke. Therefore, one of the applications of Neuralink brain-computer chip is to solve these problems. “Feelings and pain are electronic signals. If these signals are corrected, all neurological problems can be solved,” Musk said on the spot.
In deeper applications, neurological information can be modified, uploaded, stored, and downloaded through brain-computer chips, and ideas can be converted into data signals that can be recognized by computers. Musk said that you can summon your Tesla through the chip, or you can play a Star Wars game in your head. In the future, people will not even need to talk, but directly use brain ideas to communicate. At the same time, neural memory can be uploaded for backup and storage, and downloaded to another chip for use on the human body or robot.
At the scene, Musk showed the piglet Gertrude that has been implanted with the Neuralink chip for two months. In the demonstration, when a person strokes Gertrude's nose, its nerves start to excite, and on the display screen, under the action of 1024 electrodes connected to the chip, the electric wave signals in the pig's brain are clearly visible. Only through the signal of the brain nerve circuit, the computer can predict the position of the main joints of the pig's body, and it is consistent with the actual movement trajectory of the pig.
At the scene, Musk also introduced two other healthy piglets to the audience: Joyce and Dorothy. Among them, Joyce had never had an implant operation, Dorothy took it out after implantation. At the first public conference in July 2019, Neuralink announced that it had conducted its technical tests on mice and even gorillas.
Prior to this, Neuralink Company had proposed the next goal, which was to create a wireless system. If people use this system, four sensors will be implanted in the head, three of which are located in the movement area and one is located in the sensing area. An external device is installed behind the ear with a built-in battery. Through the wireless connection, the human brain can interact with the Neuralink application on the iPhone based on the device.
Musk has said that Neuralink hopes to conduct human trials as early as this year. Today, Neuralink has been awarded “Breakthrough Device Status” by the US Food and Drug Administration, which means that the agency will respond to the company's application faster than before, but it does not constitute recognition of human testing. Human trials have not yet started, which also means that the core challenge it will face next is how to successfully prove that its brain-computer interface system can function in humans as it does in mice and monkeys.
Super broadcast summary: What exactly is Musk going to do?
According to LinkedIn data, Neuralink has about 100 employees and received US$158 million in financing, of which US$100 million comes from Musk’s personal investment. So compared with brain-computer chip technology, it seems that SpaceX, the space technology exploration company it invested in, seems very “pragmatic.” So, Musk continues to invest in various types of cutting-edge technologies, what exactly does he want to do? And after we put all his current investment companies together, we seem to have found some clues:
Musk is always using the thinking logic of a “science and engineering man” to make various attempts. As long as the idea is feasible in the technical path, it has a reason for development. And because of this way of thinking, Musk has received no less criticism than praise. Within 24 hours of the release of the brain-computer chip, the industry has a lot of opinions, and the following two points are worth discussing. Give your thoughts in the comment area:
Opinion 1: The sophisticated human brain is still a mysterious area, and human cognition of it is still very limited. Exploiting the potential of the brain will help human civilization rise to a whole new field. Its significance is no less than that ancient humans began to walk upright and use tools and fire.
Viewpoint 2: The combination of brain-computer chips and artificial intelligence technology will create a great space, but it also has the risk of losing control, being hijacked, and disrupting mental ideas. This goes far beyond the scope of science and technology and rises to the ethical level.