Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Friday showcased pigs with computer chips in their brains during his unveiling of Neuralink, an upcoming technology aiming to bring symbiosis between artificial intelligence and the human brain.
The live showcase involved displaying real-time neural signals from one of the pigs, whom Musk named Gertrude, CNBC reported.
Musk said the process for installing a Neuralink in a human brain would be an hourlong operation that is no more invasive than LASIK eye surgery, inserting a coin-sized device into the skull that would leave a tiny scar after the electrodes are inserted in the brain.
He likened the technology to being essentially a “Fitbit in your skull.”
While the ambitious project has been under wraps since its announcement in 2016, Musk said the device could help fight memory loss, blindness and paralysis, among other medical conditions.
He added that a mainstream audience likely would not be able to use a Neuralink device electively for more than a decade.
“There will be ethical and safety issues to work through, and for a long time, it’s likely that you’ll have to have a real medical need to access this technology,” he said.
Musk also said Friday that the technology had received “Breakthrough Device” designation from the Food and Drug Administration, according to Forbes.
While mainstream use of the device likely is years away, Musk answered several questions about its potential, saying a person could summon their self-driving car just by thinking about it.
The device has also been tested on at least 19 different animals and has a success rate of around 87 percent.