At its presentation today at the California Academy of Sciences, Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company Neuralink revealed its plans to begin human trials of its neuron-reading technology next year. But what is it good for?
The company has big plans to augment humans with AI (and who knows, maybe even upload our consciousness into a digital ether), but one of the first applications it has envisioned is a way to let people control their iPhones with their mind.
It’s currently developing tiny processors that will connect to your brain via tiny threads significantly thinner than human hair (about 4 to 6 μm in width). These sensors will fit on the surface of your skull and then relay information to a wearable computer that sits behind your external ear (shown at the top of this article), called The Link. With that, you’re good to connect to your iPhone via an app.
With a little of training, explained Neuralink president Max Hodak, you’ll be able to control your phone’s cursor and keyboard; the app will essentially receive input from your mind (via The Link) just as it does with any third-party keyboard. That could be great for people with physical disabilities.
It isn’t clear how long we’ll have to wait for this digital telekinesis to become a reality; Neuralink explained that it’s a long while away from offering commercial products and services. But if the company can pull off everything it’s talking about at today’s presentation, it will drastically change how people interact with gadgets and AI.