In a recent post on X, Elon Musk discussed how Neuralink's brain implants could potentially protect humanity from the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). Musk highlighted that Neuralink could help reduce the "civilizational risk" posed by AI by allowing humans to interact with computers using their thoughts alone. He mentioned that this technology could significantly improve our ability to communicate with AI and enhance human-to-human communication as well.
Musk drew attention to the late physicist Stephen Hawking, who had expressed concerns about the existential threat posed by AI. Musk speculated that if Hawking had access to Neuralink's brain implants, it could have greatly benefitted him.
While acknowledging that AI risk reduction is a long-term goal for Neuralink, Musk emphasized that the company's current focus is on conducting its first in-human trials. These trials aim to evaluate the safety and functionality of the implants and have the potential to restore full body movement.
Interestingly, Musk mentioned a possible collaboration between Neuralink and Tesla, specifically with their humanoid robotics project called Optimus. He suggested that combining Neuralink's brain implants with Optimus robot limbs could make the "Luke Skywalker solution" a reality. This reference alludes to the concept of providing amputees with robotic limbs controlled by brain implants, similar to the character Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise.
Neuralink recently started recruiting participants for its first human clinical trial, which has received approval from an independent review board. The trial will initially focus on individuals with paralysis, specifically those with quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The trial aims to assess the safety and functionality of the implants, with early goals including the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard through thought.
It is worth noting that Neuralink's human trials come amidst allegations of animal cruelty. Musk has denied these claims and stated that no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant. Nonetheless, documents reportedly contradict this claim, detailing health issues in monkeys receiving the implant before being euthanized.
As for Musk himself, he is currently the world's richest person with an estimated net worth of $261.4 billion. His wealth primarily comes from his stakes in Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company.
Overall, Neuralink's brain implants hold the potential to revolutionize human-computer interaction and could play a role in mitigating the risks associated with AI. However, the technology is still in its early stages, and further research is necessary to fully understand its capabilities and potential impact.