The Tesla and SpaceX founder announced a goal of implanting chips into human brains as early as next year to create direct human connections to computers.

Image: Elon Musk

Source: Alex Johnson

Elon Musk, the futurist billionaire behind SpaceX and Tesla, outlined his plans to connect humans’ brains directly to computers on Tuesday night, describing a campaign to create “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” He said the first prototype could be implanted in a person by the end of next year.

Arriving at that goal “will take a long time,” Musk said in a presentation at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, noting that securing federal approval for implanted neural devices is difficult. But testing on animals is already underway, and “a monkey has been able to control the computer with his brain,” he said.

Musk founded Neuralink Corp. in July 2016 to create “ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” The company said in 2017 that its initial goal was to devise brain interfaces to alleviate the symptoms of chronic medical conditions.

It’s widely presumed, however, that Musk is characteristically after something much larger. He has frequently warned that the rapid advance of artificial intelligence, or AI, threatens to leave humanity in the dust, calling it an existential risk.

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