Elon Musk and his company Neuralink has been working on various projects that include developing brain-machine interfaces that might change the way the world works. In a new video posted on YouTube, Neuralink claims that a monkey can navigate and play a game of Pong using only its mind.
According to the video, 9-year-old Pager has a Neuralink implanted about six weeks before the video was shot and was first taught to play video games with a joystick. The researchers bribed him with a banana smoothie as a reward through a metal straw as he played the game. This was originally done to train Pager.
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Essentially, while Pager was playing the game with the joystick, the Neuralink was learning his hand movements and recording information on what regions in his brain were used and fired in order to activate the patterns of movements. After this was completed, the monkey is then seen continuing to play Pong without any joystick around whatsoever. The video claims that the joystick was disconnected from the PC and Pager simply played Pong with his mind.
Elon Musk says that this is the first of many Neuralink products that are aimed to enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.
While the video is quite a spectacle to watch, it should not come as a surprise. Companies, including Neuralink, have been working on this sort of technology for a while now. We have seen pigs play games using extensive training and even robots learn to play a video game by practising and mastering its algorithms.
However, this approach to the research is new from Neuralink themselves. Usually, this sort of project is tested and compiled in pages of studies which are then checked by even more scientists. Given Elon Musk’s modern approach to his developments, it should not be surprising that the man released the video to the public instead of simply putting it all down on paper.
The future does look bright for Neuralink. Check out the video down below.