Billionaire Elon Musk is taking Artificial Intelligence to a whole next level. Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup Neuralink on Friday unveiled Gertrude a pig that has a coin-sized computer chip implanted in his brain. It is regarded as an early step towards the goal of curing human diseases with the same type of implant.
Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016 with the goal of creating a wireless brain-machine interface, something scientists hope can help cure neurological conditions and allow people with paralysis to control a computer mouse. Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces that include thousands of electrodes in the most complex human organ to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and spinal cord injuries and ultimately fuse humankind with artificial intelligence.
“We have a healthy and happy pig, initially shy but obviously high energy and, you know, kind of loving life, and she’s had the implant for two months,” Musk said of Gertrude, the pig.
The billionaire entrepreneur, whose other companies include Tesla and SpaceX, presented during a live-stream event to recruit employees for his neuroscience startup Neuralink. He described Gertrude’s coin-sized implant as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”.
The device is removable, Musk said, and he showed off another pig, Dorothy, whom he claimed had had one of the devices implanted and subsequently removed. “What Dorothy illustrates is that you can put in the Neuralink, remove it, and be healthy, happy, and indistinguishable from a normal pig.”
Neuralink’s first clinical trials with a small number of human patients would be aimed at treating paralysis or paraplegia, the company’s head surgeon Dr. Matthew MacDougall said. Neuroscientists unaffiliated with the company said the presentation indicated that Neuralink had made great strides but cautioned that longer studies were needed.