And they're looking for help.
Neuralink CEO Musk believes millions of people will eventually elect to become cybernetically enhanced. The company now has about 100 employees.
Until now, experimental brain computer interfaces have enabled humans to reduce severity of Parkinson's disease and epilepsy, control a cursor on a screen, manipulate robotic arms, develop implants for the blind and deaf. Musk has a track record of bringing novel ideas to harness technology and create engineering breakthroughs in the physical world, with his electric vehicle company Tesla and his space transportation company SpaceX. Neuralink is no exception. Still, the ultimate hope is for "some sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence", which he said would take root "at the civilizational scale". "This is not a mandatory thing".
And on July 13, Wait But Why host Tim Urban - who wrote a deep, deep, deep, and Musk-approved dive into Neuralink in 2017 - tweeted that he'd had another peek into its secretive workings, and Things were Happening. Speaking of Model 3, news broke today that in the effort to ramp up production of the popular model, some employees say they resorted to using electrical tape to quickly fix cracks and worked through extreme heat, cold and wild-fire smoke.
And, he added, Neuralink doesn't want to take over people's brains.
The teeny chips, which measure just 4X4mm are drilled into the skull where they are connected to the brain with thousands of super thin threads of electrodes through four holes.
Neuralink today hosted a presentation on Youtube to introduce the company and its mission to the world. Neuralink has performed the procedure on at least 19 animals and successfully placed the electrodes or "threads" a reported 87 percent of the time.
Neuralink plans to insert highly flexible brain reading "threads" into the brain.
NeuraLink is not the only firm building neural interfaces. And in a seemingly spontaneous answer to a question, Musk revealed that the company has already used its device to allow a monkey to control a computer with its brain. According to the New York Times, Neuralink president Max Hodak said the technique now requires general anesthesia and drilling a series of holes through the skull, though they eventually hope to switch to a laser and switch to localised anesthesia. Musk said. "There's not enough time yet to actually say whether it is going to live for a long time".
The potential for tissue damage will be one of the key concerns when the FDA reviews Neuralink's application for early clinical testing. He said the first prototype could be implanted in a person by the end of next year.
"I've said a lot about AI over the years; I think that even in a benign scenario, we will be left behind", Musk said.
The company is also much more focused on creating devices which resemble tiny sewing machines that can be implanted in the human brain - to improve memory or more direct interfacing with the help of computer devices.