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Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 119

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 Or... (Score 1) 421

How about we start by getting countries to stop forcing women to get "circumcised", forcing them to cover their faces, denied the right to an education, and while we are at it, destroy the caste systems of countries. Seriously.

Women are still brutalized in a lot of places and lack the most basic of rights, and we first worlders focus on paychecks.

Comment Re: Amazing (Score 4, Insightful) 375

I've had insurance since I was born, I'm in my 50s, and my cost of insurance jumped 4 times since obamacare. My employer dropped it because insurance rates soared, so I no longer had matching, plus the regular rate better than doubled. And that is for insurance that covers almost nothing until I spend 28,000 because there are virtually NO doctors in the network. And NC has NO options, only Blue Cross. We used to have over half a dozen. My cost of insurance and overall healthcare went from being 5-10% of my income to over 1/3. So fuck your socialized healthcare that says responsible people have to pay insurance for irresponsible people that don't like to work. I'm fine helping those that can't help themselves, but this current bullshit is killing the middle class. You know, the people making 50k a year and pay the highest percentage of their income as tax because they don't make enough to shelter it. But then, that was the original plan, wasn't it? Make a system so god damn bad people would beg for a single payer. Guess what? You got Trump instead, so suck it up Dr. Buttercup. You have no fucking clue the pain this system has caused to hard working, middle American, blue collar people.

Comment Pushing up daisies (Score 0) 285

We don't just want you dead, we want you pushing up daisies. Literally.

Totally stupid. Like someone else said, the role of the military is to kill people and break stuff. Nothing else. Not nation building, not inventing environmentally friendly ways to kill. The goal should be to use the military sparingly, then when you do, use the most effective tools to do the ugly but necessary job.

Comment No. It didn't "predict" anything. (Score 0, Troll) 186

It reacted when there were "obvious" signs of trouble, and it didn't "predict" anything. The 2nd car in front was slowing fast enough that the Tesla would have started to brake on its own -- just as happened here. Would a person have noticed and reacted in the same way? Maybe; probably not. What I'm saying here isn't dismissing what the Tesla did...but the Tesla also didn't "predict" anything or see into the future; it reacted to inputs that were already present, and a good and attentive human driver might have done the same thing. Once perfected, self-driving cars and accident avoidance technology will make the roads safer â" but let's not make them seem magical, because they aren't.

Comment There is, and will be, no "Muslim registry" (Score 1, Informative) 600

They are protesting something that will never be created, because when the rhetoric was translated into reality, it was a proposal to reestablish the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS)[1], which was in force through half of President Obama's presidency, and which tracks certain individuals who enter the United States based on country/region of origin and other factors. Useless publicity stunt with commensurate absolutely abysmal coverage by The Intercept.

See also:

8 U.S. Code  1182 - Inadmissible aliens[2]

"Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."

Flashback:

"The Secretary of State and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly."[3] -- President Jimmy Carter, April 7, 1980

[1] https://www.ice.gov/nseers
[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/us...
[3] http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu...

Comment Re:I am not going to complain (Score 1) 181

Speaking as someone who has been involved over a decade as an active admin, the main office is drunk with power and cash. They have deleted many of the photos showing Gardner waving around wads of cash, which were very crass photos to begin with. Volunteers are treated like second class citizens unless you are in the inner circle. How they do fund raising and the way they blow money on "feel good, tree hugging" type events is disgraceful.

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