Stranger than fiction

Why Elon Musk is planting mind-reading chips in pigs and monkeys

Tesla mogul is on mission to enable humans to control computers with their brains

Elon Musk is well-known for his ambitious investments in the world of technology, but the colourful tycoon’s latest pet project may be his strangest yet. 

The Tesla and SpaceX boss has announced that he is “one step closer towards designing a wireless chip that would allow humans to control a computer with their mind”, after wiring up a monkey’s brain to test if the primate can control a video game, The Times reports.

Musk’s company Neuralink has also installed mind-reading chips in pigs during experiments aimed at developing ways to connect human brains to machines.

“We have a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull with tiny wires who can play video games with his mind,” Musk said yesterday during a speech on social networking app Clubhouse.

“You can’t see where the implant is and he’s a happy monkey. We have the nicest monkey facilities in the world. We want them to play Mind Pong with each other.”

The announcement comes five months after Musk showed off a pig named Gertrude with “a coin-sized computer chip in her brain to demonstrate his ambitious plans to create a working brain-to-machine interface”, as the BBC reported at the time. When Gertrude ate and sniffed straw, the chip in the part of her brain controlling her snout recorded her neurological activity.

Musk “argues such chips could eventually be used to help cure conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries”, the broadcaster adds.

And he eventually hopes to fuse mankind with artificial intelligence by implanting chips into human brains to provide a “high-bandwidth link between humans and computers”, The Independent reports.

The entrepreneur has repeatedly warned that artificial intelligence may be humanity’s “biggest existential threat” if left unchecked.

Despite his ambitious goals, however, Musk’s experiments have sparked a backlash from animal welfare campaigners. 

Peta has accused the world’s richest man of “cruelty” and says his claims of scientific breakthroughs in the field are “long on hype and short on evidence that what he’s predicting can actually happen”.

Recommended

Who will be next to get the Covid-19 vaccine?
A doctor wearing sterile gloves prepares a vaccination injection.
In Brief

Who will be next to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

How many people need to be vaccinated to get back to normal?
Margaret Keenan
In Focus

How many people need to be vaccinated to get back to normal?

How did the Indian variant take hold in pockets of the UK?
Bolton Covid vaccines
Today’s big question

How did the Indian variant take hold in pockets of the UK?

Could microbes communicate with alien species?
Sky at night
Expert’s view

Could microbes communicate with alien species?

Popular articles

The link between Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein examined
Bill Gates
Behind the scenes

The link between Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein examined

TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Chris Rock stars in the fourth series of Fargo
In Review

TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 18 May 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 18 May 2021