Elon Musk has once again made news about AI when he announced recently about Neuralink. It is an American neurotechnology startup reported to be developing implantable brain computer interfaces. The company was started in 2016 and is operated in California.
Musk had previously expressed his interest in neural lace at Vox Media’s Code Conference in 2016 saying it would allow humans to achieve symbiosis with machines.
“I don’t love the idea of being a house cat, but what’s the solution? I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer,” Musk said at the Vox Code Conference. “A third, digital layer that could work well and symbiotically.”
It is interesting to note that Neuralink trade name was previously owned by Pedram Mohseni, a Case Western Reserve University professor and his scientific partner Randolph Nudo of Kansas University Medical Center. The pair had developed a device that might help people with brain injuries. But they weren’t much successful with the product. Recently when a stranger approached to buy their company’s name offering thousands of dollars they willingly sold the trade only to know later that they had indeed sold their company’s name to Elon Musk.
In the words of Pedram Mohseni “The name Neuralink really nicely captures what is happening in the field of neuromodulation,” Only Medtronic has a device for electronic brain implants. It is a deep brain simulator able to stop tremors of people with Parkinson’s disease. More than 140,000 patients have received versions of Medtronic’s simulator. But the Medtronic stimulator is a low tech device.
Lot of companies are investing money and doing research in this field. Facebook has created new research division last year developing brain computer interface technology. The company did not mention what the division is working on but the job postings by Facebook’s Building 8 group describe the project involving neuroimaging and electrophysiological data to create a communications platform of the future.
Braintree co-founder Bryan Johnson has also created a startup Kernel which is also looking to improve human cognition. Bryan Johnson has made a personal investment of $100 million into the project last year. The company is building advanced neural interfaces to treat diseases and dysfunction, illuminate the mechanism of intelligence and extend cognition. Bryan Johnson is a successful entrepreneur who had sold Braintree to paypal for around $800 million.
Elon Musk Company Tesla Motors is itself investing huge money in AI for autonomous cars. Tesla Motors announced last October that all of Tesla vehicles- Model S, Model X and Model 3 will be equipped with supercomputer powered by NVIDIA Drive PX 2 AI computing platform. It processes the networks at high speed to provide real time, accurate response required for autonomous driving. One of the main reasons AI is used in order to avoid accidents.