There has been a lot of talks recently about AI chips designed for human implants. One major reason for that is Neuralink, Elon Musk’s biotech company working on human implants. The new discoveries from this company are surely exciting but they also have a few important privacy questions slinked to them. Security is an essential part of our digital as well as psychological wellbeing. Consequently, it is extremely important that we critically analyze every big technology like this.
Now if you don’t know what Neutralink is up to for the past couple of months lets get you up to speed. Elon Musk recently announced that they are ready for human trials for their brain-machine interaction implant. The company has already talked about future plans and uses of this technology which are pretty diverse. In addition to some entertainment uses this device is mainly intended for medical applications. Neuralink wants to counter most of the common clinical disorders such as helping paralyzed people communicate.
Initially, they tested the technology on pigs, with the goal to establish a link between brain and computers. This device when developed will revolutionize the way we use your technology. The Implant is in the form of a chip that replaces a part of the skull.
There is no permanent damage left by the implant. Elon musk while explaining the size of this device said that “It is about the size of a coin and can replace a piece of the skull. It’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”.
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Setting aside the features lets look at the practical aspect of Neuralink for a while. Musk said that this technology is still at a developing stage. It is therefore unlikely that they will get FDA approval anytime soon. Furthermore, there is a tom of testing that still remains to be done on the device.
How it Works:
The device uses electrodes to pick up electronic signals from the brain. It will then send these to a computer that translates these signals into commands that it has to perform. There is however a small issue with their solution. The company plans to read and write thoughts with this device. This will enable us to perform much more with our bodies. However, according to Neuralink’s president Max Hodak, the chip will use Bluetooth technology to communicate with a smartphone application.
On the one hand that is extremely mainstream and easy to use while on the other hand, it carried its own risks. Bluetooth technology can be easily hacked giving the hacker complete access to your memories and thoughts. this has already happened to one of Musk’s other companies. Tesla had a hack in their systems in 2017. The hacker Jason Hughes managed to exploit the loopholes in their system to gain access to a lot of tesla cars in the system.
The whole fiasco ended when Tesla called the hacker and told him not to share this data online. This gives us a pretty broad idea of how vulnerable these devices can be. A person can easily get in your mind with the implant and they can literally change what you think. The good thing is that this technology is still in the works and they can still opt for better encryption methods and faster technologies.
As for pricing, according to Musk, Neuralink will obviously cost a lot more during the initial release and development stages. However, they do plan to get it down a considerable amount in the future. A good price point according to musk was about a couple thousand dollars. Either way, we just have to wait for the technology to mature and release publically before we can discuss any of the dangers.