Elon Musk's brain-chip startup shares video it says shows a monkey telepathically 'typing'

Advertisement
Elon Musk's brain-chip startup shares video it says shows a monkey telepathically 'typing'
A monkey demoing Neuralink's brain chip at the company's show-and-tell event on November 30, 2022.YouTube
  • Elon Musk shared a video he said showed a monkey with a brain chip selecting letters with its mind.
  • Musk clarified that the monkey was not spelling on its own.
Advertisement

Elon Musk shared a video of a monkey demonstrating "telepathic typing" during Neuralink's show-and-tell event on Wednesday night.

In the demo video, the monkey appears to type out words on a screen using only his mind, thanks to an implanted brain chip. Musk was quick to explain that the monkey was using his mind to move the computer cursor to a highlighted keys to spell out what the computer program wanted him to write.

"Technically, he can't actually spell so I don't want to over sell this thing." Musk said.

The founder of the startup said the video shows how the Neuralink implant could help people who were quadriplegic use their phone, saying that individuals with the brain chip "would be able to control their phone better than someone who has working hands."

A Neuralink spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

Advertisement

Musk cofounded Neuralink in 2016 as a brain-computer interface company. The billionaire has said in the past that Neuralink's chips — which are coin-sized devices designed to be implanted in the brain via a surgical robot — could one day do anything from cure paralysis to give people telepathic powers, referring to the device as "a Fitbit in your skull."

Last year, Neuralink shared a demo video that appeared to show a monkey playing the video game "Pong," using only its mind. The year before, Neuralink shared footage that appeared to be neural readouts from a chip that had been implanted in a pig.

On Wednesday, Musk also used the video to address concerns from an activist group over Neuralink's treatment of its monkey test subjects. Earlier this year, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said it had obtained records showing the monkeys experienced "extreme suffering as a result of inadequate animal care and the highly invasive experimental head implants during the experiments." Ahead of the Neuralink event, the animal rights group called on Musk to release details about the experiments on the monkeys.

"It's important to show that Sake [the monkey] actually likes doing the demo and is not like strapped to the chair or anything," Musk said on Wednesday, adding that "the monkeys actually enjoy doing the demos" as they are rewarded with banana smoothies and other fruits.

In the video, Sake gets a handful of grapes and the monkey appears to suck on a metal feeding straw.

Advertisement

The Neuralink founder said that he expects the company will begin human trials in the next six months, pending approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The billionaire added that he plans to get his own brain implant once the device is available. Musk has repeatedly set and missed his own projections for when Neuralink would begin implanting its devices in human brains since 2019.

{{}}