What is Neuralink, Elon Musk's Brand New Company?

Elon Musk, the man behind electric car company Tesla Inc. TSLA and rocket and spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX, is launching a new company dedicated to creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain. Dubbed Neuralink, the venture aims to eventually help humans merge with computer software in order to keep pace with artificial intelligence advancements, according to The Wall Street Journal .

Neuralink is looking to develop something called "neural lace technology," which involves implanting electrodes into human brains that allow for the uploading and downloading of thoughts to a computer. The WSJ report discusses how this technology could improve human cognitive function, and that Neuralink wants to explore how to alleviate the symptoms of chronic medical conditions, like depression, epilepsy, and even Parkinson's.

Long Neuralink piece coming out on @waitbutwhy in about a week. Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 28, 2017

Musk, it seems, has been interested in the relationship between humans and computers for a while now. Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, he said that "Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence." Musk thinks human beings need to help advance the ability to communicate directly with machines, or basically risk irrelevance.

Even last year, at Vox Media's Code Conference , Musk brought up the potential benefits of neural lace technology, something that is surgically connected to a human brain and allows users to interact with a computer without the need for input methods like keyboards or trackpads.

Neural lace could prevent people from becoming "house cats" compared to artificial intelligence, says Musk. "I don't love the idea of being a house cat, but what's the solution? I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer. A third, digital layer that could work well and symbiotically," he said at the conference.

TechCrunch points out that this is pretty much how Tesla and SpaceX started: a key product grounded in one big, grand idea. Mass-produced, long-range electric vehicles and sustainable energy? Check. Landing and colonizing Mars? Check. Taking on artificial intelligence by turning into a semi-robot? We'll see.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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