Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur, on Friday, showed off a pig, saying that a small computer has been implanted in its brain.
Musk said that Gertrude, the pig, is a healthy and happy pig which was initially shy, but was filled with energy, adding that Gertrude is living a loving life and had the implant for already two months.
Elon Musk, known by most as the billionaire entrepreneur who's the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, introduced Gertrude in a Livestream event to recruit workforce for Neuralink, his neuroscience startup. Musk delineated the coin-sized implant of Gertrude as a Fitbit in a skull that has tiny wires, The Guardian reported.
In 2016, Neuralink was co-founded by Musk with the main objective of creating a wireless brain-machine interface that is being ambitioned by most scientists as an element that can help relieve neurological conditions and will allow people who have been paralyzed to control a computer mouse.
In July 2019, a design, which involved implanting tiny threads of the electrode into the brains and another device that was placed at the back of the ear. The new device that has been described by Musk on Friday is much smaller, does not need the visible device placed at the back of the ears, and would be embedded by a surgical robot under local anesthesia.
Musk articulated that the device to be implanted is removable, showing off Dorothy, another pig, claiming that he has implanted one of the devices and subsequently removed. The billionaire entrepreneur emphasized that even Dorothy has once been implanted with the Neuralink and has been removed, Dorothy is just like any other pigs who live a happy and healthy life, which is indistinguishable from other pigs that have not undergone any surgery.
While most of the near-term practical administration of wireless brain-machine interfaces are medical-related, Musk also articulated an urge that the device could also be used to help upgrade the human intelligence to compete with artificial intelligence, which he considered as an "existential threat". During Friday's Livestream event, several outsize claims regarding the potential capabilities of technology, which included that it could be used to summon a Tesla, permit a person suffering from a severed spinal cord to walk again, or even play video games, have been made by the billionaire entrepreneur.
According to Daily Mail, during the event, Musk did not show any data that could support his claims regarding the implants on the pigs' brains or even the devices he was introducing to his viewers.
Neuralink has raised over $150 million in funding, which included $100 million from Elon Musk himself. Musk claimed in the event that the company presently has around 100 employees and is expected to expand to 10,000.
According to Musk, Nueralink had attained FDA Breakthrough Device designation, which is a program that could speed up the regulatory process for products that could provide a more effective cure or diagnosis of irreversibly debilitating diseases or life-threatening conditions. Such a designation of Nueralink does not mean that the device is already approved by the DFA.
As stated by neuroscience experts, while the goal of Neuralink to read and trigger brain activity in humans is achievable, the company's timeline seemed to be absurdly ambitious.