Elon Musk’s Neuralink Venture Unveils Gertrude, a Pig With Computer Chip in Brain

Elon Musk said in the webcast the original Neuralink device, revealed just a year ago, had been simplified and made smaller. “It actually fits quite nicely in your skull. It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know.”

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Venture Unveils Gertrude, a Pig With Computer Chip in Brain

Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup, Neuralink has unveiled a pig called Gertrude with a coin-sized computer chip in her brain in a live tech demo on Friday (28th August 2020) to demonstrate his ambitious plans to create a working brain to machine interface.

Gertrude was one of three pigs that took part in Friday’s webcast demo. She took a while to get going, but when she did some activities, the activity showed up on a graph tracking her neural activity.  The processor in her brain sends wireless signals indicating neural activity in her snout when looking for food.

Just before the webcast, Ari Benjamin, university of Pennsylvania’s Kording Lab told BBC News- “Once they have the recordings, Neuralink will need to decode them and will someday hit the barriers that is our lack of basic understanding of how brain works, no matter how many neurons they record.” He also added- “Decoding goals and movement plans is hard when you don’t understand the neural code in which those things are communicated.”

Elon Musk said in the webcast the original Neuralink device, revealed just a year ago, had been simplified and made smaller. “It actually fits quite nicely in your skull. It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know.” The device which is being developed consists of a tiny probe containing more than 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads thinner than a human hair, which can monitor the activity of 1000 brain neurons. The Entrepreneur added - “It’s kind of like a FitBit in your skull with tiny wires.”

Founded in 2017, Neuralink has worked hard to recruit scientist, something the billionaire has been advertising for on twitter and which he said was purpose of Friday’s demo. He clearly stated “We’re not trying to raise money. We’re trying to convince great people to come work at Neuralink.”

He also argued such implantable chips could allow people with neurological conditions to control phones and computers with their mind and eventually help cure conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries depression, hearing loss, memory loss and insomnia. But long term ambition of Elon Musk is “Superhuman cognition”, to fuse humankind with Artificial Intelligence, in part to combat AI so powerful he says could destroy the human race.

Elon Musk insists Neuralink will have an implant ready for human brain “within a year.”

Photo source:

Elon with the chip: Daily Mail

Gertrude pig- CNN.com