By L. Mizne
A few days ago, Elon Musk showed the world Gertrude: A pig which he inserted a coin-sized chip into. This chip inserted into its brain was the next step to his goal of creating a brain to machine interface.
The idea NeuraLink, the society in charge of this chip, founded in 2017 by Elon Musk- had with this project was to create a way for phones and computers to be controlled solely by someone’s mind, helping especially those with neurological conditions such as Parkinsons, dementia and spinal cord injuries. However, there is a more ambitious goal to achieve with the project, which would be to begin entering an era of “superhuman cognition”- as referred to by the CEO of Tesla- which is essentially a time where artificial intelligence is merged with humans. The project had already applied for human trials last year, but they are currently testing out their technology on pigs.
Musk posted a webcast on Friday the 28th of August depicting Gertrude, along with 2 other pigs. In the video, while the pig was sniffing some straw, there was activity shown on the graph tracking her neurons. This is because when she looks for food, the neurons in her snout are active, and due to the chip in her brain, they send out wireless signals to the monitor.
The device itself is “kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”, according to Elon Musk himself. The chip being developed is a small probe with 3000 electrodes thinner than human hair, that can monitor the activity of up to 1000 neurons in the brain, attached to it. The plan would be to record and decode the activity monitored by these probes, therefore gaining a deeper understanding of the brain- which is so complex that most of it is still unknown.
Though much about the project is still unknown and in its testing phase, the idea that artificial intelligence and the brain will connect may become a reality soon.