Elon Musk has revealed his secretive “brain-machine interface” is nearly ready for human volunteers.
Interested? Well, all you need to do is allow the inventor’s Neuralink project to sew a few electrodes into your brain.
Oh, and he may then be able to read your mind, in theory at least.
Scientists behind the project have developed a tiny implant with more than 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads measuring about the tenth of the size of a hair, capable of monitoring around 1,000 neurons.
It would link up to an app, allowing users to control a mobile device, or a mouse and keyboard on a computer.
Musk believes the futuristic project could help counter the “existential threat” of artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence, leaving us all redundant and at risk of a Terminator-style armageddon.
Unveiling Neuralink at an event at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on Tuesday evening, he said: “I think this is going to be important at a civilisation-wide scale.
“Even under a benign AI, we will be left behind. With a high bandwidth brain-machine interface, we will have the option to go along for the ride.”
Musk said his preliminary task is to help people with disabilities interface with computers using their minds.
The technology could also improve cochlear implants in people with hearing problems and deep brain stimulation treatments for people suffering from Parkinson’s.
Musk said: “This, I think, has a very good purpose, which is to cure important diseases, and ultimately to help secure humanity’s future as a civilisation, relative to AI.”
Still fancy it? The implantation of the threads, which Musk said are a tenth the size of a human hair, require the use of a special robot and a “minimally invasive” surgery.
Once the threads are implanted into the brain, their connecting chip would wirelessly connect with a device worn outside the body.
So far research has only been carried out on animals. Musk said: “A monkey has been able to control the computer with his brain. Just, FYI.”
Neuralink is “aspirationally” aiming to implant the device in a human patient by the end of next year, the Press Association reports.
However, the entrepreneur warned that there was still much work to do, saying that the main purpose of the event was to recruit more staff.
“There is an incredible amount we can do to solve brain disorders, damage, and all this will occur quite slowly, so I do want to emphasise that it’s not going to be like, suddenly Neuralink will have this incredible neural lace and start taking over people’s brains,” he said.
“The overarching objective is to make the future better, aspirationally, and to hopefully not pave the road to hell with good intentions.”