Neuralink, the neurotechnology company founded by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, is working to develop implantable brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). In the short term, the devices will be used to treat serious brain damage caused by disease or stroke. In the long term, Musk hopes to use BCIs to bring Iain M. Banks' science-fictional Neural Lace concept to life.

The Neural Lace is a device implemented inside the skull that allows people to instantly upload, download, and process information from a computer. The Neural Lace combines human intelligence with Artificial Intelligence and gives the brain seemingly infinite learning and storage capacities.

To Musk, Neuralink serves the important role of the gateway to a future dominated by Artificial Intelligence. This scenario is not as distant as it may seem, according to esteemed inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil predicts that in only 10 years, scientists will have reverse-engineered, modeled, and simulated the human brain with extremely powerful computers.

Musk predicts that human intelligence will become almost completely obsolete when AI technology is fully developed, and Neuralink exists because the “existential risk is too high” for humans to not catch up. In order to remain relevant, the Neuralink founder claims, we must have the same level of computing power that AI will eventually possess.

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