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Elon Musk's Neuralink reveals a demo of a monkey playing video games

Elon Musk's Neuralink reveals a demo of a monkey playing video games

Neuralink, a company founded by Musk that develops microchips on artificial intelligence to enter their brains, released a video Thursday showing a macaque using game technology to play video games, including “Pong.”

Musk boasted of Neuralink primate tests, but this is the first time the company has exhibited one. In a presentation in 2019, Musk said the company allowed the monkey to control the computer with its brain. In August 2020, the company demonstrated the technology on a pig named Gertrude.

In their new reveal, Neuralink says a monkey named Pager had a chip implanted in his brain six weeks ago. In the video, he received a joystick attached to a video game in which he moves the cursor to a colored square. When he successfully moves the cursor, they give him a banana smoothie via a tube.

When Pager uses the joystick, the Neuralink chip would record his brain activity and returns it to the computer to analyze what his brain does when he moves his hand. Then the joystick is unplugged from the machine, but the monkey continues to control the game, and the brain signals are transmitted by chips to Neuralink.

Theoretically, the same technology can be used to allow humans to control synthetic limbs via a Neuralink brain implant. In a tweet on Thursday, Musk said Neuralink’s first product would give paralyzed people control of their smartphones. And this move is immensely revolutionary to humankind.

Andrew Jackson, a neuroscience expert and professor at Newcastle University told Insider, “If you invent a new telescope, it makes sense to first point it where you know what you will see. So they are following a very sensible route to validate their device. I am sure this device will contribute to new scientific discoveries in the future, as well as improving the usability of existing neural interface technologies for people with paralysis.”

Riley Green, a bioengineering researcher at the Imperial College London, also praised Pager’s clear demonstration and welfare. “The best thing I see in this video is that the macaque moves freely,” she said. “There’s also no visible package connected to it. I would say that is definitely progress – not super innovative but a nice positive step forward.

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