Elon Musk is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the world. With his company Neuralink, he announced on Twitter that chips could soon be used in people.
• Elon Musk with new announcements
• Musk speaks at Clubhouse about new attempts at Neuralink
• Researchers from Austria are more cautious
The startup Neuralink was founded in 2016, and Tesla boss and visionary Elon Musk was and is on board.
The goal of Neuralink is to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and other diseases and injuries with the help of chips in the human brain.
Elon Musk: “Try later this year”
As Elon Musk recently announced on Twitter, Neuralink could start experiments “later this year” and “if things go well,” in which computer chips are inserted into the human brain. Musk responded to a question from a Twitter user who said he was in a car accident 20 years ago and has been paralyzed from the shoulder since then.
How much truth is there in this statement by Musk remains to be seen. Musk had to endure criticism of himself and his startup from experts in the summer of last year. At that time, Musk presented a pig called Gertrude during a presentation, which had already implemented the Neuralink chip.
The MIT Technology Review website then dubbed Musk’s announcements “Neuroscience
The ater,” while the BBC questioned whether Elon Musk is “over-hyping its novel technology?”
News in the clubhouse conversation with Musk
Since Elon Musk hardly misses any trend, he was found in a conversation in the new Clubhouse app at the beginning of February 2021, where he talked about the Neuralink projects for around 90 minutes, as the New York Post writes.
As the website Mixed reports, Musk said during the conversation: “We put a wireless implant on a monkey that can play video games by mind. […] We have the best monkey institutions in the world. We want them to play pong together with their thoughts. “As Mixed continues, Musk later withdrew some of his statements and made it clear that the attempts were” long-term goals “.
The fact that this statement was received with great interest by many is probably also due to the fact that it was the first news about Neuralink since summer 2020.
When will the breakthrough at Neuralink come?
It is uncertain whether and when the breakthrough in so-called brain-computer interface (BCI) technology will come. For more than 20 years, huge sums of capital have been flowing into BCI research projects, which are primarily intended for the military.
In the meantime, however, most of the research teams that deal with BCI technology have their goals in the health sector, as does Neuralink.
The Institute of Neurotechnology at Graz University of Technology also primarily deals with people with high levels of paraplegia. “We want to give those affected back some freedom of movement and thus also increase their independence and quality of life,” explains institute director Gernot Müller-Putz to the newspaper Der Standard. As Müller-Putz further explains, many applications, such as those of neuroprostheses, currently only work under controlled laboratory conditions, as Der Standard writes.
The fact that Neuralink is carrying out studies with pigs and monkeys fuels the hope that many people will soon be able to make such applications widely available. However, David Steyrl, co-founder of the Austrian Cybathlon team at TU Graz, warns: “It is always necessary to be skeptical as to whether ideas are actually applicable or whether they remain utopian, and that also applies to BCI systems,” says Steyrl from Der Standard quotes.
Müller-Putz says: “Many simply have too futuristic ideas.”
The advantage of companies like Neuralink, on the other hand, is that they are not dependent on research funding and can achieve a lot with their financial strength.
Felix Spies / finanzen.at editors
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