Welcome to Throw Forward Thursday. My name is Graeme Codrington and come with me. Come with me to about 2054 when we are going to have Neurolink brain implants. Yeah, I think it’s going to take that long for those of you who know what Neurolink is. But let me first say that this Thursday, our topic comes from someone who went to askaboutthefuture.com and put a request in for me to have a look at Neuralink.
Thank you, Pattery, for your request. And any of you can do the same at any time askaboutthefuture.com and tell me what you’d like to see in the Throw Forward Thursday studio. So Neuralink was started in 2016. Major investor is Elon Musk, and there’s a whole group of people, more than 90 scientists, as far as we know, have been employed by the business.
And what they are trying to do is to create brain implants now, not the kind of thought of a chip that gets implanted into your head, but rather an implant that actually morphs with your brain’s neurons. They probably use some materials like graphene or something like that that will allow to implant things that actually move through your brain’s neurons and integrate with your brain. I’m simplifying it. If you’re really interested in the science, it’s a little bit blurry at the moment because it doesn’t exist yet. They’re trying to work it out.
But conceptually, the idea is to help your brain by integrating Bionics, integrating an intelligent material that can be programmed and probably connected to some form of external computing device, and then integrate that with the neurons of your brain.
Now, there’s three reasons why you might want to do this.
The first is to be able to access the brain and the brain waves, probably linking it to an external device. I don’t want to say that you will be able to do a backup of your brain, or you’ll be able to read your brain waves, but it’s a possibility to be able to see what’s going on and extract what’s going on in the brain to some kind of external device for whatever reason you want to do that.
The second thing that you might want to do would be to actually repair the brain.So there would be some kind of medical reason for doing this. Many of the diseases that we deal with today are actually diseases of the deterioration of the brain, and it may very well be possible to use something like Neurolink technology to improve broken or misfiring neurons. Might even be possible to programme this intelligent material to go in and actually attack a tumor or something that might be going wrong with the brain. So there may be some medical reasons that involve even fixing the brain, fixing it, even physically, or maybe sorting out misfiring neurons.
Again, I told you, we are going to take at least the first half of this century to kind of get our heads around this, so I’m not expecting these things to be perfected and available to the public anytime soon, but I think theoretically these things are possible.
Then, of course, the third reason for doing this would be to put information into the brain. One of my favourite scenes in a movie comes from the first Matrix movie. The fourth Matrix movie is about to be released. As I recorded this, I hope it’s better than the second and the third. Anyway, I’ll go and see it.
Either way, it’s a lovely Matrix concept, but in the first movie, the two main characters, Neo and Trinity, are running away from what was his name? The Agent Smith. They’re trying to escape from this Matrix environment and they head out onto the roof of a building and there is a helicopter. And Neo turns to Trinity and says, Can you fly that helicopter? And Trinity turns to him and says, not yet.
And then in the concept of the Matrix, where they are linked into a computer neural system and can upload information into the brain, she kind of takes about 3 or 4 seconds, and the information that she needs is uploaded into her brain and she turns to me and says, okay, now I can let’s go. And of course, theoretically that’s possible because everything that’s stored inside your brain, everything you’ve ever learnt, everything you’ve ever known, every memory you’ve ever had, everything you’ve ever made up is still there.
It’s all sitting inside that brain of yours, and it’s really stored in chemical and electrical systems and so if we begin to understand those chemical and electrical systems a little bit better, we can not only read what’s going on inside there, not only upgrade the workings of those systems, but we can also add information to those systems and Neuralink would be one of the ways that we could do that.
Yes, it’s science fiction at the moment, but conceptually, we understand that it can be done and Senior Link is trying to see what it would take to make it a reality. My guess is 2054. But hey, maybe your guess is just as good as mine.
I enjoyed going and researching that askaboutthefuture.com if you’d like to send me into a different part of the future to see what’s there. As always. Thank you for joining me in the Throw forward Thursday studio. Don’t forget to like and subscribe and get notifications so you don’t miss any episode every Thursday.
Let’s go to the future together. See what it looks like.
Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.