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Elon Musk is backing a new startup that wants to merge your brain with AI

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Heisenberg Media/Flickr
Because reinventing cars and space travel for the 21st century isn’t enough to keep him occupied 25 hours a day, Elon Musk is reportedly backing a new “brain-computer interface venture,” which intends to develop the capability to implant AI-equipped devices into the human brain.

These neural enhancements could offer augmented improved memory for users, or allow them to more directly interface with devices. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, the company is called Neuralink, and was founded in California last July as a medical research startup.

Currently Neuralink is operating in stealth mode with nothing in the way of a public presence. While that is the case, however, Musk has made oblique references to similar technology in public. Recently he told a crowd in Dubai that, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He went on to say that, “it’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”

He has also responded to Twitter queries about a “neural lace,” which refers to similar technology in a sci-fi setting. Previously, Musk has suggested technologies that let humans achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence and machines may stop humans from becoming a “house cat” to superintelligent AI.

Although there have been some astonishing advances in brainwave-reading technologies, including tools like deep brain stimulation for treating diseases such as Parkinson’s, currently only a tiny number of individuals have complex implants embedded in their skulls. Will Musk’s endorsement and investment help change that? We’ll have to wait and see to find out for certain, but one thing that’s for sure is that the man behind Tesla and SpaceX has continually demonstrated that he’s invested (both financially and intellectually) in tech’s biggest ideas for the long hau

Tesla has thus far declined to comment on the story.

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