Elon Musk's Neuralink - Everything You Need To Know | Demonstration Update (In Depth Article)

 

We, humans, have been compressing chips and making smaller and smaller devices for a very long time, but now... There is a chance that this implant/ brain chip, neuralink can change literally everything.

Elon Musk's Neuralink - Everything You Need To Know | Demonstration Update (In Depth Article)


Exactly the way,

When smartphones were first invented. Now, will people be able to work with an AI!? What is this? How Does it Even Work? What are the Dangers?

Most Importantly, we will discuss the live event that just took place along with many exciting subjects!




This article is designed to give you an in-depth understanding of Elon Musk's Neuralink and the various futuristic aspects of the newly arising technology.

This is the best article you can find on Neuralink right now! You will know if it's true as you read below! So if you ever need to link to an article about Neuralink consider using this one!

Here is what we will cover, Feel free to use the bookmarks below to skip to another part of the article!


One-Year-Old Expectations Set By The Neuralink Presentation


The Live Neuralink Demonstration  

Predictions and People's Concerns Regarding    Neuralink 
If you are here just for the definition of Neuralink, then consider it an implant (right now) that can help you reduce the entire buffer time that you spend typing, speaking, or using the mouse. However, the future capabilities of Neuralink are pretty much endless.


Now,
let's explore further!

One-Year-Old Expectations Set By The Neuralink Presentation



Elon Musk mentioned,

The Neuralink this will be a slow process where they will gradually increase the issues that they solve until ultimately, they can do a full brain-machine interface.

He knew that the aim to achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.

However, Elon Musk thinks with a high bandwidth brain-machine interface we human can actually go along for the ride and we can effectively have the option of merging with AI and according to him, this is extremely important.


 How Was It Planned to Work? (Biology)

Neurons working with Neuralink



Out nearly 100 billion brain cells called neurons come in many complex shapes but generally, they have a dendrite, a cell body called a Soma and an axon for the neurons of your brain connect to and from a large network through axon dendrite junctions called synapses.


These connection points neurons communicate with each other using chemical signals called neurotransmitters released from the end of an axon in response to an electrical spike called an action potential.


Basically, everything about gets converted into an electrical signal.

When a cell receives enough of the right kind of neurotransmitter (something that activates certain brain cells) input a chain reaction is triggered.

This causes an action potential to fire and the neuron to in turn relay messages to its own downstream synapses action potentials produce an electric field that spreads from the neuron and can be detected by placing electrodes nearby.


This allows the recording of the information represented by a neuron a goal is to record from and stimulate spikes in neurons and do so in a way that is orders of magnitude more than anything has been done to date.

However, 

The Neuralink team also aims to do this in a way that is safe and good enough that you can it's not like a major operation, it's sort of equivalent to just sort of a laser eye operation type of thing.

This is in contrast to the best FDA-approved system which is like a Parkinson's deep brain stimulation.


Neuralink presentation of old tech




This would be done using an implant which would have on the order of 10 electrodes.

In the system even in version 1 that we're going to unveil today is capable of a thousand times more electrodes than the best system out there and they're all read and write so this is really quite a big difference.

the neuralink wires
There are very tiny threads that are about 1/10 roughly of the cross-sectional area of human hair so there are extremely tiny threads.


The threads that they have it likes it even in version one are about the same size as a neuron so if you're go stick something in your brain you wanted to not be giant you want to be tiny

To be approximately on par with the things that are already there, that is the neurons.



The Setup and Device


This complicated process needs to be done with the robot because it's very tiny and it needs to be very precise so you don't and obviously we don't want to pierce a blood vessel.

When a person is in the setup each thread that is implanted will be looked upon by the robot through a microscope and put a inserts each electrode specifically bypassing any vasculature you know any kind of blood vessel.


Neuralink Surgery Bot






This makes sure it's like inserted without causing trauma or minimal trauma so just give you a sense of scale this is how tiny the threads are that is not even a big finger that is small so these threads are smaller than hair and there's a thousand of them.

This is what the robot looks like it's sort of quite a complex device but it all comes down to a very tiny point so just like you see the robot the robots on the left.

Then the what looks like the needles for insertion next to a penny but in fact that the actual needle that gets inserted is way tinier.


Neuralink Device Evolution




It's that little tiny thing at the where the arrow is pointing that's actually the size of the needle it's about 24 microns in diameter it's so small you can't really even see it within the picture with the penny you can get a sense for the robot doing the electrode insertion but that's a very zoomed-in view so they're all very tiny.


The robot is very selectively choosing delicately and then this is what the gym looks like so action potentials so the each one of those represents one electrode so there would be up to ten thousand of these that these lines.


Electrode Implant




The operation on a per chip basis it involves just a two meal a two-millimeter incision which is dilated to eight millimeters and then the Chavez placed through that.

Then they add it goes back to being two millimeters and you can basically good shot you're going to need a stitch and then the interface to the to the chip is what is wireless so you have no wires poking out of your head.


Accessibility and Build

It is basically Bluetooth to your phone because they plan to have to watch the App Store updates for that one makes sure we don't have a driver issue and also hope to have this aspirational and in a human patient before the end of next year.

Let’s discuss the present right after this!

There has been a lot of discussions of AI being potentially the last invention that humanity will have.


But now, after can take the ride with AI. Artificial Intelligence might be like really the first invention in many ways.

All experience or thoughts or memories it's all in your brain and represented in the firing statistics of action potentials. Whatever is built had to be completely wireless it had to be something that would last for a long period, not something that you'd have to take out at two three or four years.

Here are the pictures of some prototypes that they have through over that over that time.

the various chips of Neuralink's Developement


They  started on the far left that's the entirely passive board that has 64 electrodes on it and connects two connectors that go to big external amplifiers and then they added integrator chronic with our first custom ship that's also 64 channels

Finally, there is a big leap to the device that is being shown in the below. The N1 chip. 

The implantable package with just a USB C port coming out and then they took a step back in the channel count the room to be able to have to optimized safety, longevity, and bandwidth all together.

To optimize some of those other things they moved to an easier to manufacture system as 1536 channels in a USB C port and those last two are the focus of the paper was released a year ago. 

This taught the team a lot about the architecture that we think is the basis for our first human product that they are calling N1 and the central component of that is the N1 sensor this is it's a little hermetic package it's about it's when it's fully assembled.

 

It's into an 8-millimeter diameter force millimeter tall cylinder exploding it blowing like opening it up a little bit. There’s the thin film which has the which is the wisp going off to the side, there's a hermetic substrate and then that gets welded later to a package that goes over the top and that's mated to our custom electronics and which really can't be manipulated with hands.

The N1 sensor


The Neuralink Implant be controlled through a phone app you won't have to go to a doctor's office and have them have an exotic programmer to configure it and so the for the first product where they really focusing on three distinct types of control...

The first, 

Giving patients the ability to control their mobile device.

As we heard from over and over again from patient groups that if you have to have a caretaker around the pressed buttons for you what's the point you might as well have them do the thing you have to get self-sufficient using the devices on your own.

They had also worked hard towards the first in human clinical study next year we developed this robot that can rapidly and precisely insert hundreds of individual threads representing. 


Translation of Brain Signals

Electrodes of the wires and insulation for each of those wires, this design is called linear edge it's one of over 20 designs that they have made for their R&D work which has progressively been increasing the number of electrodes per thread without significantly increasing the width of each of these threads.


Spike Raster Of Neuralink






At the base next, they assemble the electronics and then also attach a wired lid using a laser welding process these two steps have required a lot of internal development as well.

The result is the sensor that's ready for final assembly and implants into the body since the start of nor link we've gone through three major revisions to the analog pixel.

This progressively improves both the size and power while maintaining performance and our latest pixel on the right is at least five times smaller than the known state-of-the-art of similar architecture with one pixel dedicated per electrode.

All of these functionalities are integrated into a single four by five-millimeter area so it can trace of a bunch of electrodes that came off of one of our devices a bunch of electrodes from a single thread and each trace shows you a voltage waveform in time as it's coming off of one of those threads.


They have algorithms that can detect these spikes in real-time as they're happening and that allows us to collect data that looks something like this is what we call a spike raster.


Neuralink's Brain Decoder


Each row there represents one channel of recording and time goes from left to right and each of those little tick marks is the time of a single spike in action potential if you look at that you might think that looks pretty messy and it's not clear what's going on.


With a little trick, the software will take those neurons and rearrange them so that they're in the order of the tuning that they have. If you do that look what happens now suddenly structure emerges.

Using that structured information can be obtained related movement and that's exactly what we need. 

That kind of magic in an automated way to read out and to read out the movement the way we do that is by building something that we call decoding algorithms these are

Mathematical algorithms and AI they tune based on data like these to be able to take in just those raster's of spiking activity and output the movement that's that the person wants to make for these little fake data.

They built a very simple decoder and are sure enough it's able to capture the intended movement.


This is what they want to do on a bigger scale but even if you're not actually making the movement but even if you're just thinking about the movement or even if you're watching someone else make the movement the cells and motor cortex respond similarly.


With that, the people will be able to get naturalistic control over the computers, not just a mouse but also keyboard game controllers and potentially other devices that's what the aim to do so potentially with a device like this.


The Vision a Year Ago

Neuralink could restore speech to a paralyzed person who's no longer able to talk but there's no reason in principle that we can't reach all of the motor cortex and that would give us access to any movement that a person thinks about any movement at all.

Kung Fu Visualization using Neuralink


A person using Neuralink could imagine running or dancing or even Kungfu and we would be able to decode that signal.

Neuralink is intended to give people the ability to tap into those representations to get act better access to that information both to repair broken brain circuits and also to ultimately give us better access to better connections to the world to each other and to ourselves.


The Live Demo

Well, the starting of the Neuralink Demo event has turned out quite annoying because the postponed 3 times for 10 mins each. That is half and hr delay for a blogger who is staying awake at 4 AM. 

Finally, the event started. Let's discuss what was discussed.

The Neuralink Upgrades


1. Design Changes in the Implant

Upgrades of Design in Neuralink


As you can see the old neuralink design had a Bluetooth module above the ear that had electrodes connecting to it. Now it is just a simple coin-shaped implant.

an electrode is a  conductor through which electricity enters or leaves an object, substance, or region.

2. Increase in Number of Electrodes

In the initial stages of neuralink, they had only 64 electrodes. Now they have expanded to 1,024 electrodes which can access a million neurons each.


That means the Neuralink can reach one billion twenty-four million Brain Cells.
 

 3. Wireless Charging


Wireless Charged Neuralink


Elon Musk revealed that the neuralink is going to be completely wireless and the battery will last all day according to the Neuralink presentation.


The Neuralink Experiment


It experiment demonstrated neuralink comparisons using three pigs. 

The first pig did not have a neuralink implant. This demonstrated how pigs behave under no other implant factors(normally).

The second pig was with one neuralink implant, this pig showed how the neuralink worked. Whenever the pig ate or touched something the machine beeped.





It could also make out the movement of its legs and head with high accuracy. As shown in the image above the waves translated into the movement predictions.

They also revealed that they had a pig with two neuralink implants and that it was perfectly fine too. 

But we should stay careful about this because there is no right way to compare a pig's brain with a human brain.



QNA and Future 

All of the below possibilities of the neuralink are explained from the events that happened in the QNA session of the Live Demo.


1. Ability to Experience and Edit Old Memories


Ability to edit memories with neuralink


Yes, through the neural link implant or another device that can contact your brain you might be able to edit and play with your memories and control your feelings by changing the memory or by directly changing it. This would lead to a ton of new industries and possibilities.

When you think of memory, we usually think of what we saw or emotions of the past but with Neuralink coming into the picture we will be able to experience our old memories or situations with touch, feelings, and exact precision.

Since everything we see, hear, and speak are finally electronic signals. The Neuralink device has electrodes that go to your brain that can change, restore, and upgrade your own knowledge and experiences with enough development in the future. 

Elon Musk himself confirmed that this is going to be possible in the live demo.

2. Access to Internet  and Communication

We already know that the neural link will be made in a way it can connect with your phone and in the future, it might get direct access to the internet too. This might mean that you will no longer have to scroll through google and other platforms to find your answers it is just a few milliseconds away from a taught. 

Neuralink

Yes! this article itself might be able to be found just by thinking that you want to know about the future of neuralinkThe Neuralink has also planned to build capabilities in the chip which will enable us to be able to talk and transfer ideas. The team also assured it can be used for telepathy with your tesla!

3.  No Need Of Learning Information

This one feature might put the entire education system on a toss. Right now for understanding and doing some work we need to recall information like a normal human, obviously. 

Since the tech can connect to cloud computers, you are also going to be connected to cloud computing indirectly. This will also make cloud computing a bigger game-changer for neuralink.

Neuralink

After the Neuralink advancement, we will be able to get and the knowledge we need directly from the internet of someone else instantly. So all the things had to learn and byheart will lose its value if we choose to become cyborgs in the future.

4. Synchronicity and Pets

Neuralink for Pets

After, looking at the experiment with pigs, it is obvious that the neuralink device can be used for any type of creature. This means there is an amazing chance of these coming out in the future.

N
ow that you can communicate directly using the brain the neuralink implant might also be made for pets after which you could understand exactly what your pet is thinking and your pet will know what you are thinking. In the same way two dancers, music bands, etc.

This could also synchronize and play or dance using the communication features of neuralink or brain implants in the future.


5. Gaming and Entertainement

If you are a gamer, you would know that there are shaders in Minecraft. Making a pixel type game look very realistic. This small plugin is extremely valuable for players and makes the whole game feel way better. 

VR will become trash if this works out in Neuralink.

With Neuralink,

Something feeling real will go to another different level. Imagine being able to feel and hear everything that happens in a movie or a game just as closely as you are experiencing it. 

The team seems to be obsessed with games like starcraft, but they assured that the neuralink will be used in the gaming industry too. You can get in the matrix created through the neuralink device and all the games in the future might be super real fantasies and experiences. 


Here are a few other interesting questions asked in the Neuralink Demo...


1. Is the Spike Detection Software Modifiable?

They only look for specific spikes from the chips. You can configure what you want to be captured and shared to be uploaded to the cloud and for it to get decoded.


2. Will You Be Able to Park Your Tesla through Telepathy?

Yes! Elon Musk himself said they want to make this happen for sure.


3. Surface layers or deeper? What's holding us back?

Right now the neuralink device is planned to connect to the cortical surface since it's easier. All hearing, muscle, etc.
they want to go deeper but not yet. longer wires and better robots.


4. What's the Most Challenging Problem for Neuralink?

One of the team members of Neuralink answered that making the thing wires(electrodes) that go into the brain has to be in the exact size and provide protection from the toxic environment in the brain which they are trying to improvise.


5. Can someone hack into the brain using Neuralink?


This question was answered in the QNA session of the Neuralink Live Session. One of the team members explained that they have made it hard for hacking in the design itself. 

Since the design is custom they are trying to reduce all physical factors that would allow a hacker to get in. They also revealed that Neuralink ins working with third-party companies for penetration testing.

However, this does not mean there is no way to hack it.

(penetration testing is done to reduce bugs/problems and lockout hackers)


Predictions and People's Concerns

Neuralink and People


Will Education Loose Its Value due To Neuralink?


This quite a contradictory subject to talk about but here is what I think,

If Neuralink succeeds in making intF#ernet access directly accessible to the brain then most probably learning and keeping knowledge in your brain will be almost worthless, technically.

How will Neuralink Change Lives

But, 

Value of Education for developing human conscience and wisdom will become highly valuable because now there will be a need for people to find out if they are worth anything without technology.


What Will Be the Cost of Neuralink?


If you already know the fantastic capabilities of the Neuralink device and want to have your hands on the futuristic neural lace technology by Elon Musk, Your first question would be what is the price of this brain implant. 


Cost of Neuralink Explained



If you are here just for the answer about the cost of the Neuralink, the Cost of Neuralink is a Few Thousand US Dollars After Large Scale Production with Surgery Included. However, if you want to dig deeper and know why and if it will be worth it, continue reading!

What Is The Evidence for Cost Of Neuralink?

On the 28th August 2020, Neuralink demonstration answered a QNA with the same question. This is where Elon Musk gave a clear expectation for the price of Neuralink.

The first Neuralink will be quite expensive but in the future, we want to make it available for everyone so it will be around a few thousand dollars including surgery


This again comes back to how far Elon Musk and the team manage to push this technology. So let me put it forward in best-case situations. If it stays the same it might only be used for people with disabilities and this won't lead to unemployment.

If All of the Future Planning Comes True

If this happens it will be a huge hit on the PC, Mobile, Communication, and many other Information related industries.


creativity fuled by neuralink?


If you can make art and movies by visualizing, then the actors and painters might lose value, and people with the best images will rise.

There is also a chance that Neuralink might reduce creativity but that's a whole different topic to discuss.

All of these companies might become worthless and only the elite and best companies might be used for finding data through the Neuralink.

Maybe something like Neuralink Google Search.

This easily means that at least a few lakhs of people might lose jobs in the future.


Will New Jobs Be Be Created?

This is a must! In fact, the major reason for the demonstration is that the neuralink team needed more people for various aspects such as technology and software aspects for the future.

This means more people will probably get more employment in cloud computing, quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience will easily grow.

That's it for now!

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