2020-09-01

Xiaomist Inc.

Small rain from a large cloud. Scientists disappointed with the presentation of Elon Musk and Neuralink

On the night of Friday to Saturday, Elon Musk presented the Link device, which is currently only a prototype of the brain-computer interface created by specialists from the Neuralink company.

During an intimate presentation broadcast on the Internet, Elon Musk, in addition to the device, also showed three live pigs, one of which had just such a prototype installed in his head.

As is usually the case with Elon Musk, the presentation did not lack bold assurances about the potential capabilities of the device and its bright future. From the mouth of the head of Neuralink, Tesla, SpaceX or Boring Company, we could hear that the device will ultimately be able to support people who have lost their eyesight or have been paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord rupture.

In addition to purely medical applications, there are also entertainment options: the ability to summon Tesla with your thoughts, without the need to pull out the phone, or even the possibility of communicating with other Link users without the need to open your mouth - telepathy literally stands on the threshold and waits to be let in. .

Experts disappointed with the presentation

While the world of fans of Elon Musk and all his inventions has gone mad with delight, wondering what else he will use a coin-sized device implanted in the skull, experts are much more skeptical about the whole idea.

Computer scientists note that the very idea of ​​connecting software directly to the brain is a scary idea, especially when you consider software flaws that occur naturally or are susceptible to hacking.

Neurobiologists notice two things. First of all, a lot is still needed for a single device of this type to be connected to the brain of even one person. Yes, while Musk argued that Neuralink had developed a robot with which he could implant leads with electrodes coming from the device into the brain, such implants usually destroy surrounding brain cells and cause further damage as they decay over time.

From the engineering side, it's a good job, but from the neurobiological side, it's poor. There is a world of difference between recording how your brain cells work and "reading your mind," especially when it comes to higher cognitive functions that we don't know so well. The idea of ​​transmitting information to the brain is even more questionable - there are some fundamental limitations to targeting specific networks of neurons with electrical stimulation. [….] It is a pity that the Neuralink team presented the results of their work in such a way, instead of publishing a scientific article in a peer-reviewed journal, so that we can verify its claims

Andrew Jackson, a neuroscientist at the University of Newcastle, told BBC News.

There is no breakthrough here. There is an archive

Aside from the fact that Elon Musk presented no evidence that Link would be able to do anything the company announced, the researchers note that the entire presentation featured decades-old technologies.

During the demonstration, we saw a recording of the signals of one of the pigs' brains on the screen. It is therefore worth recalling that this type of experiment, including on humans, was carried out by scientists in laboratories in the twenties, but of the previous century.



Little rain from a large cloud. Scientists disappointed with the presentation of Elon Musk and Neuralink

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