February 21st, 2023
You have probably heard of Elon Musk- The CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and even the cofounder of OpenAI. Another Venture of his is Neuralink.
This company is creating a chip that can cure diseases that are caused by the brain and even help enhance brain function up to a 100 times. Some examples of diseases/problems it can cure are: Alzehimers, spinal cord problems, and even blindness.
First before we look at how the chip works, let’s understand how our brain works. Our brain is actually based on electric signals where each neuron sends electrical signals to certain body parts for actions to be carried out. So scientists have worked out that by installing electrodes in our brains and controlling those we can essentially enhance our brain function.
Now how will all this work? Neuralink has built a dedicated surgical machine called R1 which carries out the first surgery. Here they plant 1000 electrodes in certain parts of your brain. After that, they install a chip (about the size of the coin) and 100 wires connected to it. (20 times thinner than human hair) Here is a picture of the R1 machine:
This chip is like having a phone installed in your head and using it 24/7. We can watch a movie in our heads. We would never need our phones at all. Another thing you must know is how this chip’s upgrades will work. The first generation is called Neuralink N1. The company’s plan is to release a new “model” every year like the iphones. The consequent surgeries for upgrading the model are pretty simple as switching it out and taking a total of around 15-30 minutes.
This chip will almost become a necessary evil for good jobs that provide higher incomes. We have to get these chips to keep up with the intelligence of AI’s. There might not be a choice to not have the chip installed.
Neuralink has tested this chip’s function in a lot of monkeys that have enhanced their brain function deeply. Even though it has a lot of positives, there are many drawbacks and risks involved with the chip. Some include hacking, privacy and security, and constant surveillance.
For example companies can give you a level of personalized ads that we have never experienced before. When you are hungry, you might get an ad for a combo meal at Subway or Burger King’s two for 6$ entrees.
All of this has to be approved by FDA before it can be used in human-trials and then eventually available to the public. Only time will tell us if this chip will become integrated in our society and humanity. This approval holds the future of our society.