Out of all the breakthroughs Elon Musk is chasing, his project called Nuearalink is undoubtedly his boldest. Instead of building never before seen rocket technology like he is doing with SpaceX, Elon is literally trying to redefine what future humans will be like. In short, Nueralink is a microcomputer that would be implanted into, you guessed, your brain. As the company’s website puts it, they are “developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.”
It may seem scary and way-out-there-futuristic, but similar types of things actually already exist. There are brain implants that help treat blind people or people with neurological disorders currently in use. Elon, as he always does, wants to take the next step (and the next one, and the next one). The first usages for a first generation Nueralink would probably be fairly practical, things like immediate access to information or constant health monitoring. It could detect minor raises in core body temperature, alerting you that a fever is coming on and to up your Vitamin C intake. Don’t know what the capital of Oregon is, your chip can instantly access a search engine and you get your answer immediately, without having to deal with that bitch Alexa. (It’s Salem by the way). But this is just the beginning, as the tech gets better and better, and we begin understand how this stuff interacts with our brains, the possibilities of for Nueralink, or something like Nueralink, are truly endless.
One of the most mind-bending applications of Nueralink is the possibility of it giving us the ability instantly communicate with one another by sending and receiving signals using only our minds. I am not saying this as hyperbole, a technology similar to Nueralink will enable us to become telepathic. If you define telepathy as being able to communicate by only using your minds, Nueralink, or a future relative of Nueralink, will more likely than not be able to do this for us. You may think the idea of humans communicating using only their minds as incredibly terrifying, which it is to some degree no doubt, but think of it this way: what would somebody living in the year 1900 think about being able to instantly text anyone in the world? Think of the conceptual jump from someone in 1900 to present day, is that really that much bigger of a jump from where we are today to what Elon is suggesting is possible. I would argue it is not, we already communicate without talking using technology, this is just another, albeit large, step in that progression.
Scientists believe that early humans beginning to use tools in their everyday lives (i.e. spears to hunt, sticks to reach things in trees or rub together to make fire) rapidly pushed forward our evolution and was a key step in our separation from our great ape relatives. It is my belief that technology like Nueralink will have this same impact on future humans. Not only will technology like Nueralink potentially stimulate parts of our brain that have never been tapped into before, but there will a exist a point when we learn how to fully integrate it within our brains and it becomes a part of us. Instead of just being something we can access, it will be us. At that point, the line between our biologic and artificial intelligence will become blurred and the course of human evolution will be changed forever. We are obviously talking about hundreds, maybe thousands of years from now, but the first pieces are being put in place for this process to begin. What a time to be alive.
Obviously there could be negative consequences with this kind of thing, but with any significant breakthrough tech there is exists that chance of it going off the rails. What is important to note is that this stuff is not inherently bad and, if the right people are involved, it can be incredibly positive. Be skeptical and intrigued, not scared, but most of all, be fucking stoked that we have someone like Elon Musk leading the charge here.