Elon Musk's new company, Neuralink, serves as a stepping stone into the future. (Jerome Adamstein / Los Angeles Times)
Horace Greeley High School

Opinion: Neuralink is the stepping stone into the future

Since the birth of the technological age, the concept of artificial intelligence has been widely thought and dreamt about. It has become a part of modern culture in a way, with science fiction movies such as “The Matrix” or “The Terminator” coming to light, depicting an apocalyptic world ruled by intelligent machines.

Ever since the idea was first proposed in 1956 at a conference at Dartmouth College, researchers in the fields of machine learning have been continuously creating and innovating new solutions to make this world a reality. And yes, although the idea of a futuristic society controlled by killer robots may seem a little far fetched, we may actually be a lot closer to achieving artificial intelligence than you might think.

Many have heard of the visionary engineer and entrepreneur, Elon Musk. Whether you’ve read about SpaceX in the news or seen a Tesla driving around your neighborhood, Musk and his many disruptive innovations continue to impact our world. But in July 2016, he created another company that deals specifically with artificial intelligence: Neuralink.

Neuralink aims to create a device that could successfully allow its user to be able to control computers or phones without direct contact. Simply put, a device that lets you control your electronics with your “mind.”

The research paper by Neuralink described the device as a microchip connected to an array of small and flexible electrode “threads,” each array containing as many as 3072 electrodes across 96 threads. These threads could then be inserted into a user’s brain with micron precision. The intended audience for the chip are people with physical disabilities or diseases, therefore, they can interact with their devices as they wish without interference from their body’s limitations.

In an interview with CNN, Musk expressed concerns about the potential dangers of a world where AI eventually surpasses the brainpower of a human. With Neuralink, he stated that the long term goals of the company would be to achieve a “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”

In a world where technology is becoming increasingly important, research being done in companies such as Neuralink is essential.

Today, their goal is to help paralyzed humans control their phones and computers, according to Neuralink’s research paper, but with the technology that this company is venturing into, Neuralink opens up a whole new area of possibilities in artificial intelligence.

If it is able to succeed, Neuralink could become the foundation for a world in which humans and machines are able to mutually benefit one another. Can you imagine having Siri inside your brain? Technology like this could be offered by companies such as Neuralink in the future.

Like it or not, the world of AI foretold in mainstream media is slowly but surely becoming a reality. Neuralink’s innovations would not only be a medical tool for those with physical disabilities, but it also serves as a stepping stone into the future.