Elon Musk is Creating Cyber Pigs

The Dorothy pig (Credit: Neuralink)



Elon Musk demoed his latest efforts to let you control a computer with your brain by showing a pig fitted with implants.

The pig was part of a Friday demo from Neuralink, a company Musk started to create the upcoming brain-to-computer interface. The hog, named Gertrude, happily roamed its feeding pen, eating food, even as an implant had been placed inside the animal’s snout. 

The implant itself contains hundreds of tiny threads —each smaller than a human hair— to act as electrodes, which can detect brain signals. In the case of the Gertrude, Neuralink is using the implant to read the pig’s neural activity as the animal performs certain actions, like smelling, eating and walking.

“Whenever she shuffles around and touches something with her snout that sends out neural spikes, which are detected here,” said Musk, who later added: “She’s had the implant for two months.”

The Gertrude pig getting its brain signals read. Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires,” he added, noting the implant itself will charge its battery like a smartwatch does. “So you can use it all day, and charge it at night, and have full functionality,” Musk said. 

The implant will then talk to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and potentially other devices, such as a mouse and keyboard, enabling you to control each product with your thoughts. This will involve reading your brain signals to determine what actions you’re trying to make, and then translating the actions into computer commands. 

The implant's specsNeuralink company, which is hiring. Currently, it employs 100 people. But during the event, Musk said the company could one day reach 10,000 employees.

The company is currently targeting the implant for paraplegic patients, who can no longer use their limbs. But the brain-to-computer interface could lay the foundation for wilder sci-fi-like concepts found in films such as The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell. During a Q&A session, Musk raised the possibility of converting your memories into computer code, which could then be downloaded into a new robot body.

“The future is going to be weird,” Musk said.

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August 29, 2020
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