Elon Musk’s monkey has been taught to play Pond with he’s mind. The monkey had a neuralink placed in each sides of his brain about six weeks ago.
Neuralink, a company founded by Musk that is developing artificial-intelligence-powered microchips to go in people’s brains. We’ve had about Neauralink’s tests on primate before but this is actually the first time we’ve seen it on display.
Neuralink says the monkey, named Pager, had a chip implanted in his brain six weeks ago. In the video, he was given a joystick that was hooked up to a video game in which he moves a cursor to a colored square. When he successfully moves the cursor, he’s given some banana smoothie through a tube.
How Did They Do Get This Monkey to Play Pong From Neuralink?
Andrew Jackson, a professor at Newcastle University who is a neuroscience expert, told Insider that getting primates to control video games via neural interfaces was not new – comparable demonstrations were done in 2002 – but said it was a good test of the tech.
“If you invent a new telescope, it makes sense to first point it where you know what you will see,” he said. “So they are following a very sensible route to validate their device. I am sure this device will contribute to new scientific discoveries in future (especially if they make it widely available to scientists), as well as improving the usability of existing neural interface technologies for people with paralysis.”
Jackson added that the engineering of the device, being implanted wirelessly in Pager’s skull, was a significant advance.
“What is definitely new and innovative is that there are no cables coming through the skin, and the brain signals are all being sent wirelessly,” Jackson said. “This to me is the advance here, and is important both for improving the safety of human applications (wires through the skin are a potential route for infection) and also as a way of improving the welfare of animals used in neuroscience studies. The Neuralink team has definitely made progress in this regard.”
Would You Have a Neuralink Transplant?
Theoretically, the same tech could be used to give people control of synthetic limbs via a Neuralink brain implant. In a tweet Thursday, Musk said the first Neuralink product would let people with paralysis control a smartphone.