Computer chips implanted in brains are arriving sooner than you may have anticipated. At a press conference, Elon Musk unveiled his plan to place computer chips in people’s brain, linking them to their smartphone.
The chip, which Musk is hoping to begin implanting in 2020, has a USB-C port. For those who don’t understand tech-speak, that’s the port that Apple uses to connect things like Macbooks to other devices, such as smartphones, via Bluetooth. Stroke victims, people suffering memory loss, and cancer patients will be among those who benefit the most from the technology, according to Musk.
The chip will be small and noninvasive, with Musk comparing the surgery to Lasik eye surgery, saying that implanting “is not a major surgery.”
He also explains, “If you want to stick something in your brain you don’t want it to be giant; you want it to be tiny. And to be approximately on par with the things that are already there – the neurons.” During his presentation, Musk assures that the threads connecting the device to the brain are smaller than a human hair in the current version and will decrease in size as the technology improves. He also stressed that there will be “no wires poking out of the head.”
The good news, for those who are tech adverse, is that the chip will be operated through an iPhone app. As Max Hodak, president of Neuralink, puts it, “You won’t have to go to a doctor’s office and have them have an exotic programmer to configure it.”
The technology does have its detractors, though. Speaking to CNN Business, Frederike Kaltheuner of Privacy International cautions:
While the technology could help those with some type of brain injury or trauma, “Gathering data from raw brain activity could put people in great risk, and could be used to influence, manipulate and exploit them. Who has access to this data? Is this data shared with third parties? People need to be in full control over their data.”
Both proponents and opponents of A.I. will be watching the continued development of Neuralink with great interest. All of us should be hoping that this technology will help improve the quality of life for those suffering medical conditions that have negatively affected their brain.