Neuralink Debuts Wireless Brain Implant In Humans – Here Are The Results

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"Initial Results Show Promising Neuron Spike Detection," Says Musk After Successful Installation of Neuralink's Link in a Human Patient

San Francisco: Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company Neuralink has debuted its first wireless brain implant in a human patient. The initial results are promising, marking a good step towards Musk’s goal of merging humans with artificial intelligence.

“The first human received an implant from Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well,” Musk said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” he said.

The bite-sized Neuralink implant was surgically installed in a patient’s brain at the company’s San Francisco facilities. A team of neurosurgeons carefully threaded hair-thin flexible electrodes into the patient’s motor cortex, the region of the brain that controls movement. The procedure was reportedly successful, with the patient experiencing only mild discomfort during the 4-hour surgery.

Once installed, the Neuralink device enables wireless transmission of neural signals from the brain to an external computer. Electrodes in the brain capture neuronal firing patterns, encode those signals, and beam that data to a wearable receiver that relays it to a connected computer for processing. This establishes a direct communication channel between the brain and the machine.

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“We have a healthy and happy patient at home waiting for the Link to be enabled for more applications,” said Musk at a progress update event. He believes these early results indicate Neuralink is on track to develop technologies that symbiotically merge humans with AI, enhancing our cognitive and functional abilities.

Neuralink’s goal is to mass produce the coin-sized Link for widespread installation in human brains. The wireless implant would use ultrathin flexible electrode threads that are robotically inserted into the brain’s cortical surface without open brain surgery. This would enable brains and computers to communicate wirelessly via Bluetooth protocols or other standard technologies.

According to Musk, “Long term, the goal is to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence… We are aimed at providing useful info streams directly from the device into the cortex while protecting the brain from potential side effects.” He envisions brain augmentation that triples the capabilities of average humans.

However, significant technological barriers remain. Current prototypes rely on open-skull surgery for implantation, limiting adoption. Wireless data transmission speeds are still below the gigabit bandwidths required to match cognition. The long-term safety of brain electrodes is unknown. Ethical concerns around consent and identity also abound when modifying human neurology so intimately.

While the road ahead remains challenging, Neuralink’s successful first human implant marks a major milestone. Similar efforts by competitors like Synchron and Kernel aim to open a new era of integrated brain-computer interaction. Still, Neuralink retains its first-mover advantage under Musk’s forceful vision. He believes that merging with AI is essential for humanity to avoid obsolescence when artificial general intelligence surpasses unenhanced human intelligence this century.

A Step Forward in the Right Direction

Love it or hate it, Neuralink’s progress indicates that melding minds and machines may arrive sooner than expected. With potential benefits from mental enhancement to curing neurological diseases, brain-computer integration could fundamentally reshape the human condition. But predicaments around consent and personhood in altered humans will require extensive societal debate to resolve responsibly. Until then, progress marches inevitably forward behind the promise of supercharged cognition.


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