Elon Musk‘s new firm Neuralink Corp is seeking to create a technology that can connect a human brain to a computer with the goal of allowing telepathic communication, the famous entrepreneur revealed in an interview with Wait But Why. The company is planning to commercialize its micron-sized products in approximately four years and will primarily be focused on servicing the medical sector, i.e. creating solutions that will help people cope with brain injuries and related issues. The products that Neuralink is developing heavily rely on machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, meaning the company will likely depend on advancements in those fields to meet the loose launch window Musk revealed in the aforementioned interview, though the groundwork has reportedly been laid and Neuralink is now making steady progress.
Musk previously referred to the concept behind Neuralink’s technology and similar solutions as “consensual telepathy,” often talking about how the human brain is filled with incredibly complex ideas that people try to compress and relay using slow, inefficient methods like talking or typing. While Neuralink will initially be focused on providing solutions for people with brain-related medical conditions, the company’s ultimate goal is to create a comprehensive communications platform that will be accessible to anyone. No specific time frame for realizing those ambitions has yet been provided by either Musk or anyone at Neuralink, though the 45-year-old business magnate previously said that an experimental version of the technology designed for an average human may be approximately a decade away from being available, noting that such a solution might be delayed due to heavy regulatory scrutiny it would likely attract.
The concept of direct, concept-based communication isn’t entirely new, though it was previously explored at a much more basic level by top experts in the field. Facebook recently revealed that its Building 8 research division is working on a thought-to-text solution that would allow people to type by simply thinking of letters and while that technology sounds significantly less ambitious than what Neuralink is currently working on, its implications also include the possibility of conceptual communication in the future. An update on Neuralink’s efforts to revolutionize communications will likely follow in the coming years.