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FEBRUARY 07, 2022

Neuralink: Upgrading to cyborg

When man and machine merge

Welcome to the future. Since Tesla boss Elon Musk propagated his bold idea of chips implanted in the brain, the boundaries between reality and science fiction have finally blurred.

But are these just exaggerated promises or will we all soon have a brain stimulator in our heads that catapults us to the next level with a software update?

Because this innovation is so ingenious and radical at the same time, we went looking for the pros and cons to divide minds a little more.

Welcome to the future. Since Tesla boss Elon Musk propagated his bold idea of chips implanted in the brain, the boundaries between reality and science fiction have finally blurred.

With his start-up called Neuralink, techno-utopian Elon Musk is investing in an interface that allows man and machine to become one. Tested on Gertrude pork, the innovation has reached a "breakthrough status", which is associated with a high priority for approval by the authorities. So we are talking about a technology that could be used in the coming years.

During an operation that takes place under local anesthesia, a chip is implanted in the human brain. This stimulates nerve cells and sends electrical signals to a Bluetooth receiver, which can be charged via a smartphone or smartwatch.

Musk compares surgery to laser eye surgery, and the costs should also be within a reasonable range. Of course, the procedure is performed by a surgical robot.

The meaning behind this: the brain becomes more efficient. And according to Musk, it is necessary, because he no longer has the bandwidth to optimally process all the information about our environment. A data-driven society needs people

Cyborgs who have to follow artificial intelligence. Otherwise, it could happen that AI, as the greatest threat to humanity, will soon take control of us.

Are these just exaggerated promises or will we all soon have a brain stimulator in our heads that catapults us to the next level with a software update?

Because this innovation is so ingenious and radical at the same time, we went looking for the pros and cons to divide minds a little more.

Brain stimulators have been around for a long time

While Musk's invention resembles science's greatest recent innovation, we must take our breath away from the fantasy of omnipotence. Because such "brain doping" has been around for some time.

In fact, there are robotic arms that can be controlled by thought, as well as implanted electrodes that successfully treat Parkinson's patients, the blind, epileptics, and people with depression or movement disorders. In addition, more than 400,000 deaf people have a similar implant in their ear, which converts sound into electrical signals and stimulates the auditory nerve again.

Nevertheless, Musk's invention is a glimmer of hope for the sick. With his innovation, he himself would like to be the first to help paraplegics, who can now control robo-limbs using the power of thought. Blindness, deafness, anxiety disorders, drug addiction and depression will also soon be a thing of the past - a medical reality for a long time, but still a heroic mission.

But is this really Musk's main intuition, which describes his chip as "Fitbit for the brain"? Unfortunately, Musk's statements cannot be scientifically verified, as he has so far kept his know-how a secret and refrained from scientific publications.

Fantasy at risk for health?

The human brain is still a mystery to scientists, and the idea that the blind see again and the paralyzed walk again is so pleasant - Musk wants to go under the top of the skull and so far the brain chip has only been used in pigs.

Neurosurgeons warn of the danger of incorrect coupling of interfaces in the brain, as this would require a deeper understanding of the complex human brain and its neurons.

The procedure also involves the implantation of several electrodes in the brain tissue, around which scar tissue will form over time. Micro-hemorrhages may also occur.

The visionary Musk takes a sober view, considering the brain simply as an "electronic device". After the procedure, which lasted about an hour, only a tiny scar reminds you of the operation and after all, the cables do not come out of your head. In addition, robot surgeons work very precisely and do not injure any veins during the operation - thank God.

Free will as fiction

Let's imagine that the operation succeeds. Are we human or machine? And how does the law react to the new normal? Is a malleable brain even ethical?

How do you know if athletes were brain-doped or if criminals were still controlling their own actions?

If we want to discover this, we need an overview of sensitive (and profitable) data.

The fact is that a brain chip for "normal people" blurs the boundaries between its own actions and those of others. Control over one's own feelings can be damaged and on the way to divine hyperintelligence, one's own individuality diminishes.

However, if a chip is only used in patients for whom it is ethically justifiable, they can now communicate with each other via their thoughts. A bit unfair too, right?

Conclusion: man thinks, machine directs

Certainly, we salute Musk, because Neuralink has a high level of expertise as aThe chip is updated at lightning speed in its relatively short development timetechnology has arrived.

Even if it is not a revolution, we are sure that some patients can be greatly helped by the chip and that they can regain their quality of life.

Nevertheless, technical, ethical and legal obstacles will arise, as technology is no longer just an external part of our daily lives.

But it will happen - sooner or later. And the sooner we, as a society, face the consequences and don't smile at innovations such as simple madness, the better we can discuss them in advance. Let's hope that artificial intelligence won't catch up with us.

Great idea or gaga – make up your own mind. But consider that all these visions may not be real. Maybe Musk is under the influence of a tiny brain chip...