In order to fund the development of technology that connects human brains with computers, Neuralink Corp., the startup co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has taken steps to sell as much as $100 million in stock.
According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the San Francisco-based company has already gotten $27 million in funding. Neuralink isn’t seeking outside investors, Musk said via Twitter on Friday. A spokesman didn’t respond to questions about the source of the funds.
Musk, 46, has several other pet projects, including a project for the responsible development of artificial intelligence and a venture to bore tunnels for roads or tube-based transportation systems known as the hyperloop and he is the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
After much more demanding commitments to his automotive and rocket companies, Musk said Neuralink is a priority in June. “Boring Co. is maybe 2 percent of my time; Neuralink is 3 percent to 5 percent of my time; OpenAI is going to be a couple of percent; and then 90-plus percent is divided between SpaceX and Tesla,” said Musk at the electric-car maker’s annual shareholder meeting.
There are few details available in the public domain about Neuralink. The company’s sparse website says it’s “developing ultra-high bandwith brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” In order to join the effort, it’s also recruiting engineers and scientists.
“No neuroscience experience is required: talent and drive matter far more,” the company says on the site. “We expect most of our team to come from other areas and industries.”
Earlier Musk has said that linking the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices was the aim of his latest company Neuralink.
Musk had earlier said in an interview with website Wait But Why that in about four years, a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesions, and so on, is being planned to be brought by Neuralink.
“If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy,” Musk said in the interview published on Thursday. And explain in detail the science of the human brain and how Neuralink will aim to connect to it is a nearly 40,000-word article.
Musk said in a tech conference last year that humans will need to implant “neural laces” in their brains to keep up as artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike.
“There are a bunch of concepts in your head that then your brain has to try to compress into this incredibly low data rate called speech or typing,” Musk said in the latest interview.
“If you have two brain interfaces, you could actually do an uncompressed direct conceptual communication with another person.”
Depending heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well the devices work on people with disabilities, the technology could take about eight to 10 years to become usable by people with no disability.
(Adapted from Bloomberg and CNBC)