Viewpoint: Elon Musk’s Neuralink dreams are a mix of reality and ‘science fiction’

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Image: Liulolo/iStock

So, how precisely is Neuralink pushing the envelope? 

A lot of Neuralink’s vision may sound difficult to believe, but the company’s roadmap, in many ways, starts as an extension of existing work. We have surgically implanted electrodes in both humans and animal subjects, and we have successfully read neural activity. In some cases, we’ve even used those readings to perform tasks, like controlling a mouse cursor or even a robotic arm.

[However,] it wasn’t always clear what’s ready for use and what, in the words of Neuralink scientist Phil Sabes, is “aspirational.” 

None of these challenges is insurmountable. But they’re all real, and they’re what stands between an obvious extension of existing technology and Musk’s mid-term vision. That vision is currently in the science fiction realm: multiple implants, put in place through elective outpatient surgery, communicating wirelessly with a small bit of hardware behind the ear, and it’s all controlled by a cellular phone. No individual part of that vision is too far beyond existing technology, but assuming that all of these individual challenges can be overcome (or at least overcome in a specific, convenient manner) is extraordinarily optimistic.

Read full, original post: Elon Musk’s Neuralink: Both an evolution and a plan for radical change

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