Tech

Here’s my guess: Neuralink will introduce a vision implant at today’s show and tell.

This means that about 700 phosphenes can create a useful form of vision, although it does not look like natural vision, which is incredibly rich in color and travels along a million axons from the eye to the brain.

How exactly the demo will take place, one can only guess. While Musk is a magnet for drama, Neuralink has played quite conservatively in the past, so we don’t expect anything too crazy. For example, while Neuralink once brought a pig onto the stage, we didn’t expect any live demo featuring a rhesus monkey. They are a bit aggressive, and animal rights activists are already criticizing the company and its university partners for harming animals. But there could still be a video demonstration involving a primate, as in the case of a monkey playing pong.

Of course, Neuralink could go crazy if they wanted to. The mask could well enter letters live, directly into the monkey’s brain, and the animal deciphers his message.

After taking over Twitter, Musk acted like a court jester, making rash but, in his opinion, truthful comments about free speech and other issues.

I think it would be pretty funny if all of Musk’s recent tweets were given to him and typed by a monkey.

But this is my big goal. Everyone at Neuralink is telling me that they will be careful enough to stick with the basic demonstration of implant-guided vision. The company wants to show that its device is useful, can help people, and chart a cool future that will attract talented engineers to apply for jobs.

I may be wrong about all of this. So I’m definitely tuning into the Neuralink event. And you should too. While Neuralink’s brain interface demo isn’t really new, it’s always a great show.

We thank the following researchers for sharing ideas and information about vision implants in preparing this paper: Eduardo Fernandez, Miguel Hernandez University; Conrad Cording, University of Pennsylvania; Richard A. Norman, University of Utah; Sumner Norman, Studio AE; and Anonymous.


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