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Neuralink: Elon Musk teases ‘Halloween’ update for brain chip startup

Human trials may be announced after last major update showed a monkey playing video games using a computer chip in its brain

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 22 August 2022 17:37 BST
Neuralink’s monkey was able to move the virtual paddle of Pong just by thinking about it
Neuralink’s monkey was able to move the virtual paddle of Pong just by thinking about it (Neuralink)

Elon Musk has announced that his brain-computer interface (BCI) startup will hold a “show and tell” event on 31 October.

Neuralink’s Halloween update will be the first major event since unveiling a monkey capable of playing video games using its mind last year.

Making the announcement on Twitter on Monday, Mr Musk gave no further details about what the event will entail.

The tech billionaire has previously said that the first ever human trials of the brain chip technology will be taking place at some point in 2022.

Earlier this year, Neuralink posted a job advert for a ‘Clinical Trial Director’, with the first test subjects expected to be people suffering from paralysis.

“As the Clinical Trial Director, you’ll work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink’s first Clinical Trial participants!” the job listing stated.

Early applications of the BCI technology involve treating people with brain disorders and dieseases, according to Mr Musk, before eventually being used for more ambitious purposes, like allowing “human-AI symbiosis”.

He claims that the potential for Neuralink’s chip is almost limitless, saying in a company presentation in 2020 that it could be used to cure blindness and “solve paralysis”.

He said: “In the future, you’ll be able to save and replay memories. This is increasingly sounding like a Black Mirror episode... Ultimately you could download them into a new body or a robot body.”

Human trials of BCI technology have already taken place in Australia, where researchers allowed a paralysed man to make the first “direct-thought” tweet after having a computer chip implanted in his brain.

Neurotech startup Synchron has made a number of breakthroughs in the field, and has even attracted the attention of Mr Musk.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that the world’s richest person had approached the Melbourne-based firm about a potential investment.

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