The billionaire Elon Musk announced last Sunday in an informal talk on the new sound social network Clubhouse that one of his intrepid companies, Neuralink, has managed to implant a chip in the brain of a monkey that allows him to “play video games with his mind. The tycoon appears to be trying to find out if animals with neural implants can challenge each other in a game of mental pong, which, he said, “would be great.” Owner of companies like Tesla and SpaceX, Musk acquired California-based Neuralink with a hundred employees to develop one of his “crazy ideas,” a technology that connects our minds to the internet. The short-term goal is for people with amputated limbs or brain or spinal injuries to be able to control a computer, cell phone, or any other connected device just by thinking.
In the long run, and this seems to fall squarely in the realm of science fiction, perhaps humans can communicate through a kind of telepathy and even achieve a “symbiosis” with artificial intelligence. Going even further, the charismatic entrepreneur even suggested in his day that the “state of the brain” could be preserved to be recovered after death and brought back to life in another body or a robot. Musk described it as an interface of “threads” that are “sewn” into the brain. It will also allow, he advanced, that we can listen to music directly in our head or control the level of hormones.
Neuralink has been testing neural interfaces in animals for years. Last summer, he showed his progress on a sow named “Gertrude” in a video. As for the monkey that has participated in the new experiment, Musk assured in Clubhouse (the talk can be heard on YouTube) that “he is totally happy.” Ironically, it does not seem that he is going to suffer any kind of aesthetic disorder, since the implant, he says, is not even noticeable. “It doesn’t look awkward or weird,” added the one who is already the richest man in the world, over Jeff Bezos of Amazon.
Also, according to Musk, the ape’s home is enviable. He boasted, recalling that the US Department of Agriculture described the Neuralink lab as “the most beautiful monkey facility” they have ever seen. The perfect place for a lot of monkeys to compete to see who wins with a game console, a scene that seems impossible but in which the people of Neuralink are already working. As if the idea is not ambitious enough, the founder of SpaceX did not forget the colonization of Mars, another of his dreams, where he hopes to establish a self-sufficient colony. Elon Musk also announced yesterday that he is leaving Twitter for a season. He announced it with a brief comment on his social network account, where he has about 45 million followers, without giving any further explanation or saying when he plans to return.