This technology is bananas.
Elon Musk says his brain-implant firm Neuralink has equipped a monkey to play video games with its mind.
The world’s richest man touted the achievement in an early-morning interview on the audiostreaming app Clubhouse, where he talked up Neuralink’s efforts to build a hi-tech brain implant that would let humans control computers just by thinking, New York Post reports.
“We’ve already got a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull, and the tiny wires, who can play video games using his mind,” the billionaire Tesla CEO said during his roughly one-hour, 37-minute appearance.
“One of the things we’re trying to figure out is, can we have the monkeys play mind-Pong with each other?” he added. “That would be pretty cool.”
Neuralink is designing the so-called brain-machine interface with the goal of helping paralysed patients easily interact with their mobile phones or computers, Musk said.
The monkey isn’t the only animal to receive an early version of the implant, which Musk described as “like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”.
He revealed in an August presentation that Neuralink had installed a prototype in a pig named Gertrude, an experiment that drew criticism from PETA.
“Elon Musk is no primatologist, or he’d never suggest a monkey who’s strapped to a chair with a metal device implanted in his skull and forced to watch video games all day is anything but miserable,” Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of the Laboratory Investigations Department at PETA US, said in a statement on Monday.
But Musk insisted that Neuralink’s primate is perfectly happy with his built-in gaming system.
“He’s not uncomfortable and he doesn’t look weird,” Musk said.
“When the (US Department of Agriculture) came through and inspected our facilities, our monkey facilities, she said it was, like, the nicest monkey facilities she’s ever seen in her entire career, just FYI. We went the extra mile for the monkeys.”
Musk didn’t provide any other details or evidence of how the monkey’s implant works, though he said Neuralink was planning to release “some new videos showing progress maybe in a month or so”.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission