Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk's new venture isn't rocket science—it's brain surgery. The futurist entrepreneur's new company, Neuralink Corp., plans to merge human brains with computers, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal. The computer interface would become part of the brain with the help of tiny electrodes and a technology called "neural lace," a term first used in the sci-fi novels of Scottish writer Iain M. Banks. The technology would apparently be used initially to help people with intractable brain disorders like epilepsy. If it proves to be a success in that area, the Journal's sources say it could be used to improve human brain function to keep up with artificial intelligence—and to download people's thoughts.
In remarks last year, Musk complained about the "ridiculously slow" human output level, especially when it's "just two thumbs tapping away" on a phone. "Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain," he said. "Our eyes take in a lot of data." Insiders say Neuralink plans to start off by building on existing technology used to treat Parkinson's disease, which TechCrunch notes is the "Musk standard playbook" for setting out a path to more ambitious goals, like landing on Mars. The Journal reports that Neuralink has already hired some leading academics specializing in electrodes and neuroscience—and Facebook is also hiring "brain-computer interface engineers." (In his spare time, Musk is trying to solve an Australian problem.)