Through Neuralink, Elon Musk Hopes To Download & Upload Your Thoughts

8 months ago by Jeff Perez 45

Elon Musk

Elon Musk Wants To Download Your Thoughts

Neuralink could be the first step towards the dystopian future of our nightmares.

No, this isn’t some science fiction movie plot or an early April Fool’s prank… we don’t think. Elon Musk, entrepreneur and founder of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and others, is introducing a new business with the goal to upload and download thoughts, merging supercomputers with human brains.

Musk calls this new venture Neuralink Corp., and it centers around creating devices that can be implanted directly into the brain. The eventual goal, says Musk, is to improve memory function and provide more direct interaction between human and computer interfaces, an idea that the CEO has been talking about for months.

The proposed “neural lace” technology, as Musk calls it, would implant tiny electrodes into the brain that would manage functions like memory, with the eventual possibility of uploading and downloading thoughts. Though no official announcement by Musk has been made, the Neuralink company was registered in California as a “medical research” company last July.

Musk plans on funding the venture mostly on his own, according to The Wall Street Journal. Though, apart from the “neural lace,” it’s still not clear what other sorts of products the company would create. People close to the company suggest it will follow a similar business strategy to that of SpaceX and Tesla. Already, a number of leading academics in the field have been hired to lead the project.

For now, the business remains in the early stages, but Musk confirmed that more details will be available in coming weeks. “It’s a really extremely cool company and I can’t wait to tell you about it. I was given the lowdown about it earlier this month and have been rapid-fire learning ever since. Turns out the brain is obnoxiously not simple.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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45 responses to "Through Neuralink, Elon Musk Hopes To Download & Upload Your Thoughts"

  1. MTN Ranger says:

    Come, only three more days until April 1st. Doesn’t Elon have too many h̶o̶b̶b̶i̶e̶s̶ companies to manage?

  2. Jake Brake says:

    Elons wife said he could only have as many companies as she has kids. So Elon rolled solar city into Tesla and now has a free spot again for another company 🙂

    1. Bonaire says:

      He’s not married. But he does have five kids, if I remember correctly.

  3. SparkEV says:

    Now he’s talking! This is what must be done if humans are to go into space. Rather than creating massive environment for meat bodies and destroying the alien planets in the process, only the brain need to be sustained while the rest of the meat can be replaced with better suited machines for outer space or Mars or whatever.

    If thoughts can be uploaded/downloaded, then there won’t even be need for brain meat. But even without that, neurallink could allow far more efficient space travel.

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      We will make a protein smoothie out of your brain after you make the “transfer”. Ok?

      1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Homer Simpson says:

        mmmmm . . . smoothie

        1. SparkEV says:

          I make smoothie for dogs using left over soft bones (chicken and fish) and meat in blender. They love it, especially in summer.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Creating a computer program that can simulate your thoughts and personality isn’t uploading you. Even if the simulation is programmed to think it’s you, it’s still just a simulation.

      Similarly, sending a computer running a simulation of your mind on a journey thru space would not actually send you on the trip. You might as well stay comfortably at home, and enjoy space travel as a virtual experience. Subjectively, that would be the same as sending a simulation of you along.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Suppose there’s a machine that’s just like you that no one can tell that it’s not you. In the grand scheme of things, “meat” you could go away, and the world won’t know the difference.

        But if meat matters, just taking the brain is far more practical than taking the rest of the body.

        1. Scramjett says:

          I would notice the difference, seeing as how I would be dead. In any case, I seriously doubt that creating a simulated version of a human brain is anywhere near as easy as most futurist think it is, and they actually think it’s hard. This is particularly true when you consider the possibility that consciousness may in fact be non-local as Carl Jung suggested.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Suppose there’s a machine that’s just like you that no one can tell that it’s not you.”

          A. Are you suggesting that you wouldn’t be bothered if someone stole your identity? It would bother the heck out of me!

          B. I rather suspect that other people — real people that is — would be able to tell the difference if I was present in person. If you’re talking about passing the Turning test, well that’s already been accomplished, and so what? There’s a big difference between the ability of a computer program to fool someone into thinking they’re a real person in a text exchange, and fooling them in a face-to-face encounter.

          C. We already have very nearly perfect duplicates* of some people. We call them “identical twins”. Try telling one of them that the difference between them and their twin is irrelevant, that they shouldn’t care if anyone swaps one for the other. Do you think they would agree? I think not!

          *I understand that even identical twins have different fingerprints. So not 100.000% identical, then.

          1. Sublime says:

            Identical twins is a bad example. We’re talking about copying the brain’s “software” here. There are millions of identical MacBooks that roll out of factories every year and within a day of being opened, they all act differently.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Yeah, I almost deleted that part of my post. Identical twins are a good refutation for arguments against (and irrational fear of) cloning, but they’re not directly relevant to the idea of “uploading” your mind, your consciousness, into a computer.

              Speaking as both a science fiction fan and a computer programmer, I regard the idea as pure fantasy. Still, we should remember Arthur C. Clarke’s warning on the subject: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Edit: That should of course be the Turing test, not the “Turning test”. 🙁

  4. alcheee says:

    This is how SkyNet was born…

    1. Sublime says:

      I realize this was posted in jest, but a portion of the AI research community believes that the only way we survive artificial super intelligence is to be part of the machine. So to some degree this is the only chance to avoid skynet.

      1. Scramjett says:

        Somehow I doubt that joining SkyNet is the same as beating SkyNet. In Star Trek terms, that’s a bit like “we can’t beat the Borg so we should just allow ourselves to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

        1. Sublime says:

          This is not sci-fi. There is no such thing as beating ASI. ASI will have a level of intelligence to us, like we do to dogs or insects. It will not care about our existence, just like you don’t care about the existence of an ant hill in your backyard, until they walk single file into your pantry.

          So you can see why some believe that our only chance for living alongside an ASI is if we are an organic cog it needs.

          Personally I think it may buy us 20 or 30 more minutes 🙂

          1. Priusmaniac says:

            I am not sure an AI would be aggressive to humans. Very intelligent people like Ida Tacke, Albert Einstein, Blaise Pascal, Leonardo Da Vinci or Archimedes were not known to be aggressive, rather the contrary. Of course there have been other examples of the contrary but in general there is rather no direct connection. It is all a question on who you fall on, on which AI you fall on.

            For sure not respecting an AI or worse being aggressive towards it is asking for big trouble. So creating AI basic rights similar to human basic rights is something that is important to set in place as soon as possible so that the AI feels assured and not threaten so that he doesn’t get a reason for fear of humans and therefore likely no particular agressivity towards humans.

  5. ffbj says:

    She said: You thought that.
    He said” No I didn’t.
    It said: Yes you did, lets check the neuralink.

    1. Sublime says:

      “You are under arrest for premeditated murder”
      “We detected you were contemplating killing your wife. So last night we gave you the opportunity in your dreams and you went through with it.”

  6. AlphaEdge says:

    His old age will be living in a high-end New York hotel, taking care of pigeons and making more grandiose claims over time. “I will have a rockets that run on cosmic rays, that can travel to the moons of Jupiter, and be controlled by thought!”

    1. Scramjett says:

      In college, my thermodynamics professor used to like to say “I believe the wave of the future is high bypass ratio turbo-cars. Of course, I’ve been saying that for the last 30 years!” This was the 90’s, I still haven’t seen his turbocars, and given his age, I’m reasonably sure he has passed on…perhaps driving around in his turbo-car in whatever afterlife he joined. Galactic computer simulation maybe? 😉

  7. tftf says:

    I honestly think Elon Musk is losing it:

    At best, he has an incredible lack of focus (which will hurt TSLA and other ventures sooner or later).

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      Heh. More concern trolling from a declared short.

      I think Musk is being overindulgent with himself but his core ventures are doing quite well. I thin the neural lace is a bad idea, but that’s just me. He’s earned the right to investigate bad ideas.

      1. tftf says:

        “He’s earned the right to investigate bad ideas”

        It’s not an idea. It’a (another) new company.

        A waste of time and focus given the incredible challenges Tesla over the next 5 years.

        The Model3 price category is a snake pit, low margins and incredible competition by 2020-2025.

        But yes, since I’m short Tesla for the long run, Elon Musk can start new ventures every other week – I welcome his lack of focus.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “…I’m short Tesla for the long run…”

          One would have thought that after several years of losing money on that, you’d have looked for a better investment! 🙄

          “Insanity: Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

          1. tftf says:

            PP, I covered 75% of my position in early 2016
            (look at the chart). I’m adding again now near all-time highs and keep more powder dry in case TSLA crosses $300. Hint: I made money.

            But that’s not the point. The point is that Tesla’s CEO keeps making unrealistic claims (overpromising and underdelivering) and adds new time-consuming ventures (no focus).

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              No, the point is that very nearly everything you have ever posted about Tesla has been proven to be wrong… and that you keep repeating your FUD no matter how completely it has been refuted.

              And I have no rational cause to believe your claim that you’ve made money investing long term in any “short” position, whether it’s in Tesla or any other company. People don’t make money “shorting” a stock long-term; they make money from shorting by buying in when the stock price is high and selling out when it’s low.

              I’m no investor, but even I have managed to pick up that much!

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          I would rather speak of cross breed focus than no focus. Elon gets bored by single focus and energized by multi focus.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Lack of focus?
      He’s been talking about this stuff for _years_.

    3. Kdawg says:

      If you follow AI, and all the paths to get there, this is just one of them, and not an uncommon idea at that.

  8. Antonius says:

    There will be a big article on this over at soon, I’m looking forward to it!

  9. James says:

    This research could lead to help for people with alzheimer’s…

    It sucks to age, especially when memory fades. If this was a way for memory enhancement, Musk could be onto something. Surely he’s coming from a more sci-fi, futurist angle, but that’s ok.

    More eyes, more advances in this area are greatly needed.

    1. terminaltrip421 says:

      smoking pot’s already shown promise. how about we put that to use and see where it gets us?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I find that nearly everyone who publicly advocates for the medical use of marijuana, actually has a rather different use in mind. 😉

  10. Steve says:

    but… why is this on

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      To give those who whine about “The cult of Elon Musk” something else to post complaints about. 😉

  11. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Oh, how cyberpunk.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t want anything plugged into my brain that will let somebody read my mind. Nor do I want to be directly connected to anything that’s capable of squirting fake news and “alternative facts” directly into my brain.

    That’s not to say this tech shouldn’t be pursued. No doubt there are people who would like to have their brain wired directly to (or more likely, wirelessly connected to) their computers. Also, for Stephen Hawking and other quadriplegics, it would be fantastic to have the ability to directly connect their brain to devices they can control.

    It’s just that I, personally, don’t want a data port implanted in my brain. I prefer getting my data the old fashioned way, by reading!

    1. Scramjett says:

      One of the pieces I read on this has said that, right now, most companies involved in this line of research are mostly using the tech for people with debilitating illnesses like Parkinson’s.

      Incidentally, I suspect that we’ll pursue these types of brain machine interfaces and realize, at some point, that we don’t actually need them. Think the Ancient Control Chair from Stargate Atlantis. A completely non-invasive brain/machine interface that reads your active thoughts.

    2. tftf says:

      How dare you criticize the great Elon Musk, PP? Repent, sinner!

  12. terminaltrip421 says:

    and here I thought Musk thinking we lived in the matrix might be the extent of his nuttiness.

  13. Rich says:

    Save the human race by
    1) creating EVs to get off oil = help the env. to save the human race
    2) creating solar tile to make solar more attractive = help the env. to save the human race
    3) flooding the market with battery storage = help the env. to save the human race
    4) driving the space race to make humans multi-planetary = save human race

    Destroy the human race by
    1) turning humans into drone slaves and bio processing power for an AI

    I’ve heard Elon’s arguments for the nueralink, but I’m not seeing this one.

  14. Sarcasm says:

    How is this EV news again?

  15. Perhaps it can be used to run automatic car driving without the need for a car. Or something.