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News: Elon Musk’s brain-implant company Neuralink recently received regulatory approval to conduct the first clinical trial of its experimental device in humans.
What is Nueralink? How does it work?
• Neuralink project is a brain-computer interface technology that aims to create a generalized brain interface to restore autonomy to those with unmet medical needs today and unlock human potential tomorrow.
• The project involves implanting a microchip in the brain that can record and stimulate neural activity, and transmit it wirelessly to a computer or mobile device.
• The project claims that its implant is fully implantable, cosmetically invisible, biocompatible, and low-power.
• The implant consists of a biocompatible enclosure that contains chips and electronics, a battery that can be charged wirelessly, and threads that record neural signals from 1024 electrodes. The implant is inserted by a surgical robot that can precisely position the threads in the brain.
• The implant communicates with a Neuralink app that decodes the data stream into actions and intents.
What are the possible benefits of the technology?
• It can help people with unmet medical needs, such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, memory loss, and mental disorders, by restoring their autonomy and improving their quality of life.
• It can enhance human capabilities, such as learning, communication, and creativity, by enabling faster and more accurate access to information and skills.
• It can achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence, which may be an existential threat to humanity if it goes unchecked. By merging with AI, humans can keep up with its progress and influence its direction.
What are the ethical and technical challenges it may face?
• Ensuring the safety, reliability, and accessibility of the implant, which involves invasive surgery, potential complications, and high costs.
• Protecting the privacy and security of the data, which may be vulnerable to hacking, manipulation, or misuse by third parties or malicious actors.
• Addressing the social and moral implications of enhancing human cognition, which may create new inequalities, conflicts, or dilemmas among individuals and groups.
• Neuralink technology is one of the most ambitious and controversial projects in the field of neurotechnology. It has the potential to change lives for the better or worse, depending on how it is developed and used.
Source – BBC, Nueralink