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Brain chips to replace cell phones in future – Musk

The billionaire’s Neuralink company implanted the first chip in a human brain last January, and is now gearing up for a second trial

Cell phones will become obsolete in the future, being replaced by chips that are implanted directly in the human brain, billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has predicted.

His Neuralink biotech company implanted a brain chip for the first time in 30-year-old quadriplegic Noland Arbaugh back in January. The surgical procedure involved placing the computer chip – which is about the size of a coin – in the region of the brain which controls the intention to move. The chip is then used to “record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention.”

Musk shared his latest prediction in response to a post published on X (formerly Twitter) by a parody account named Not Elon Musk on Sunday. The original message read: “Would you install a Neuralink interface on your brain to allow you to control your new X phone by thinking?”

Musk replied by claiming that “in the future, there will be no phones, just Neuralinks.”

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In its press release last year, Neuralink said its Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface (PRIME) program aims at developing a “fully implantable, wireless brain-computer interface” that would at first grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts. It would later pave the way for revolutionary treatments for people suffering from various physical disabilities such as paralysis and blindness, as well as illnesses like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.
In an interview with Joe Rogan in 2018, Musk suggested that Neuralink could also one day allow humans to communicate without using words, and possibly also achieve a state of “symbiosis” with artificial intelligence.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for the first chip implantation trial last May.
Several weeks after the procedure in late January, Musk reported that the man had made a “full recovery with no ill effects that we are aware of,” and was capable of moving a computer mouse around the screen “by just thinking.”

However, in May, Neuralink acknowledged that it had encountered certain issues after tiny wires implanted in the brain were dislodged out of position.
Nevertheless, the FDA gave the green light for a second human trial, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. The next experiment, which is reportedly slated for June, will feature a modified procedure, whereby a chip will be implanted deeper into the brain to prevent it from retracting.

According to the media outlet, another eight people are expected to take part in further trials by the end of the year.

June 17, 2024 at 04:52PM

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