Elon Musk's New Company, Neuralink, Looks to Upgrade Your Brain With AI Tech

"Neural lace" technology would allow human brains to interface with machines without a physical connection.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk certainly keeps busy. In addition to Tesla and SpaceX, he's now launching Neuralink, a company that wants to develop ways for human brains to interact with software, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Neuralink is reportedly developing "neural lace" technology that would allow human brains to interface with machines without a physical connection. This cyborg tech could also be used to provide some form of cognitive boost, according to the report. Neuralink was registered as a medical-research company in California in July, but has otherwise stayed under the radar until now.

The technology involves planting electrodes in the brain. Similar implants have already been tried in limited medical experiments, but they require a physical connection between the implant and a device. (A paralyzed man recently regained use of an arm and hand using one of these systems, according to NPR.) But Neuralink would try to cut the cord, and potentially bring neurons and software much closer together.

Musk has hinted at interest in neural-lace technology before. When asked about it on Twitter in January, he said he was preparing an announcement. At the 2016 Vox Media Code Conference, Musk said neural lace was "quite important," and that it was the only way to prevent humans from becoming "house cats" for future artificial intelligence.

The Tesla CEO views AI as a potential existential threat to humanity, and has sought to establish ethical standards for the technology through his OpenAI initiative. Apparently, he views putting a little software in human brains as a safeguard against it, as well.