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Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 73

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
by ROLFE WINKLER
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at rolfe.winkler@wsj.com

Comment Re:Good (Score 2, Interesting) 236

I prefer the episodic model, as I don't feel compelled to watch if I don't want to, and I don't worry if I miss an episode or if I watch them out of original order. Unfortunately this model is increasingly relegated to half-hour sitcoms, and anything with dramatic content is now serialized whether it needs to be or not.

Everything you say is a very valid concern for the old model. There are a number of shows i stopped watching because i missed enough episodes that i didn't feel like i'd know what was going on currently. Some of those i would try to catch up later on DVD, but that means you're now running at least a season behind, especially since back in the day it took forever for TV shows to come out on video.

However Netflix actually does away with a lot of the downsides of such serialized content. If it's on Netflix (or Hulu, or Crunchyroll) you start the show when you want, watch as much as you want, and wait as long as you want between episodes without worrying about missing anything. (Well, barring breakdowns in license negotiation, but that's not an issue with their in-house content.)

Comment Ya, and that will hold up... not (Score 3, Informative) 324

Here's the deal: All proprietary software has that in there as well. Every piece of software has an EULA that says they are responsible for nothing. Have a look at the MS EULA if you wish, there's all kinds of shit that supposedly limits liability, requires arbitration, etc, etc https://www.microsoft.com/en-u....

You can say it all you like, doesn't make it true. I can write an EULA saying "By using this software you agree I get to take your first born child," and yet if I tried, I'd still go to jail because just saying it in an EULA doesn't make it so. You can't disclaim all warranties, all damages, etc by law. For some info on it look up the Uniform Commercial Code.

Ok well all that aside when it comes to an issue like this courts are not known for applying the law one way in one case, and a different way in another. They don't say "Oh we like this nice OSS" and give it one rule and "We don't like this mean commercial software" and give it another. Thus if courts find that software makers are liable for incidental data loss then it will apply to ALL software. OSS has no special get out clause. You don't get to have it both ways where OSS gets a magic liability shield just by putting something in a text document but commercial EULAs aren't worth the bits used to store them.

In fact, OSS will be MORE vulnerable. Commercial companies have lawyers to help them wrangle out of things. They also can always go the real contract route, where you sign an actual contract up front with them before buying (you see this with some enterprise software) which can enforce more stringent terms. OSS that is just distributed on the web doesn't have all that.

Comment You don't want this to succed (Score 4, Insightful) 324

Even if you are a rampant MS hater, this would set a really bad precedent: That software companies could be liable for data loss caused by things only incidentally related to their software. Talk about a ripe field for bullshit lawsuits.

Don't think OSS would be immune either. The argument of "but I didn't charge for it" doesn't eliminate liability. In fact, it would be something companies could use to try and bully OSS out of existence through bullshit lawsuits.

Comment This is such a bad argument (Score 2, Interesting) 153

Every time there's a story about OSS software being less than perfect, someone always trots this tired crap out. "Oh if it isn't want you want you can just fix it!" That is complete bullshit and you should know it. If you don't, you are hopelessly naive.

First off, most people are not programmers and many do not even have the request problem solving, analytical, and mathematical skills to become one. If you aren't a programmer, you can't just go and fix software. Becoming a programmer isn't magic either, you don't go and read a book and then you are good. It takes years of experience to get proficient, and decades to really master and is something you need to spend a lot of time on. If you think you are some hot-shit programmer and you "picked it up just by reading" and "just do it in your spare time" then guess what? You aren't near as good as you think you are.

Second, even if someone is a programmer they may not have the requisite skills or knowledge to deal with a piece of software. Not all software is created equal, not all problems are the same to solve. Someone might be a programmer who's actually pretty good, but knows about making database code because that's what they do. However if they are trying to implement an algorithm for processing audio they might be lost because they don't understand how that works, it is another set of knowledge.

Finally, even if someone does have the skills, knowledge and experience to do it, maybe they just don't want to spend the time. We all have only so much time to spend in a day, maybe they are not interested in dropping a bunch of time to fix something that is to them just a tool. They'd rather pay to have one that works and spend their time on other shit.

So knock it off with the "oh it is open just do it yourself" crap. That is extremely silly, and you know it.

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