Is this the next LASIK? With Elon Musk’s brain chip human language could become obsolete and your mind totally in sync with the internet. 

This is not scene from a science fiction movie.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently spilled the sci-fi scoop on a podcast with Joe Rogan.  On it, he shared the latest on Neuralink, an artificial intelligence company he founded 4 years ago. The company is developing a chip that is surgically implanted in the brain.

Elon Musk brain chip
N1 Chip. Source: Neuralink / YouTube

Elon Musk’s brain chip company has three chief goals, including working to create a “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”

According to Musk, inserting a chip into your brain will become the

“equivalent to a LASIK type of thing where you sit down, a machine does its thing and you can walk away within a few hours.” – Elon Musk

What Started As An Altruistic Pursuit

Musk says his first goal is to enable people with neurological disorders to control a digital device using their thoughts.  In trials, a monkey has been implanted with the battery-powered chip and has been able to successfully control a computer with its brain.

Elon Musk brain chip
Source: The Verge/Neuralink

In addition to treating neurological disorders and brain disorders, Elon Musk believes his chip development could cure eyesight and “almost anything that’s wrong with the brain.”  

His Vision For The Masses

The WSJ first revealed that the Tesla-founder had founded a company that was working on developing “cranial computers.” The article also exposed a mass market vision for Musk and his team, as well:

“people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars…perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function. “ 

The Wall Street Journal

Last year, Elon Musk’s N1 chip team held its first public press conference and shared details of the company’s approach. For the first time, the public learned of the mass-market aim for this brain chip:

Musks sees his Neuralink chip, called the N1, taking artificial intelligent to an innate level.  By implanting the chip, it would allow our brains to access the power of the internet and computer intelligence, giving us superhuman intelligence.

Need to speak French?  Download the program.  The premise is that your brain can think it and access the chip way faster than your fingers can type the request into Google, when the brain is connected to a chip.

The abilities are so profound that Musk believes humans wouldn’t need to speak in 5-10 years. Language would exist for “sentimental reasons.”  

Costs, Privacy and Other Legal Concerns

So far, there are no details on cost or safety of the initiative. Currently, a surgeon must insert the chip. Over time, a robot will be developed to increase the precision and efficiency. Musk is currently seeking approval from the FDA for trials.

There are also large questions about privacy, ethics and personal rights that remain unclear – including who owns your brain’s data once you insert a proprietary chip inside of it? Could the chip’s owner control what messages are sent your brain? Could a brain chip get hacked?

An Inescapable Reality?

Elon Musk’s Neuralink is not the only company in the space of connecting human brain potential with computers. Investor-backed Kernel has designed a “brain reading” helmet, while Facebook purchased CTRL-Labs and its “mind reading” wristband.

While it may be something we cannot comprehend now, it is clear that reading what’s on our minds is inevitable in tech.