Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Elon Musk predicts human language will be obsolete in as little as five years: 'We could still do it for sentimental reasons'

Neuralink chief says firm planning to connect device to human brain within 12 months

Tom Embury-Dennis
Saturday 09 May 2020 18:18 BST
Musk says language could be obsolete in 10 years

Elon Musk says technology he is working on could render human language obsolete in as few as five years.

The Tesla chief, appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, made the prediction during a discussion about his neurotechnology firm Neuralink.

Musk said he hoped the company would be able to connect a Neuralink device to a human brain for the very first time within the next year.

The chip, which is battery-powered, would be implanted in the skull and its electrodes “very carefully” inserted into the brain.

“It can interface with anywhere in your brain, so it could be something that helps cure eyesight,” Musk told Rogan, adding: “In principle it can fix almost anything that’s wrong with the brain.”

Although the first-generation devices would be focussed on helping treat brain injuries and disorders, Musk said later iterations would likely be capable of much more.

“You wouldn’t need to talk,” Musk said, adding: “We could still do it for sentimental reasons.”

He went on: “You would be able to communicate very quickly and with far more precision … I’m not sure what would happen to language. In a situation like this it would kind of be like The Matrix. You wanna speak in a different language? No problem, just download the program.“

Asked how long it would take for his firm to develop technology advanced enough to do it, Musk said between five and 10 years, “if the development continues to accelerate”.

Musks extraordinary prediction came at the end of an eventful couple of weeks for the technology entrepreneur.

Earlier this week, his pop star girlfriend Grimes gave birth to their first child, before leaving many fans confused over the boy’s name.

It came just days after a tweet from Musk about Tesla’s share price saw the company value temporarily plummet $14bn (£11.2bn).

“Tesla stock price too high imo,” Musk said, kicking off a bizarre series of tweets in which he claimed he was planning to sell “almost all” of his physical possessions.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in