The Hype Machine is Now Paused – The Real Scoop on Neuralink

September 18, 2020

Elon Musk demo’ed his Neuralink brain interface device a few weeks ago.  The hype and the fanfare reminded us of the scene from Star Wars where the Emperor announces the rise of the Galactic Empire…oops, sorry Elon.


Well, anyways, don’t hate us for that one. 


Here’s how 3 neuroscientists stack up on Neuralink, according to an article in Inverse.


Ralph Adolphs, Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology at CalTech

  • Neuralink is "a good example of technology outstripping our current ability to know how to use it."
  • Neuralink chip is similar to how we interface with the world naturally using our hands and mouths.


John Krakauer, Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University

  • A brain interface "has echoes of Charles Xavier in the X-Men," so its exciting.
  • There are plenty of potential non-invasive solutions to help people with neurodegeneration and motor impairment; "the cool factor clouds critical thinking."


Kevin Tracey, Neurosurgery Professor at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research

  • "We need more hype right now" because people aren’t paying enough attention to this area of research.
  • "In the United States for the last 20 years, the federal government's investment supporting research hasn't kept up with inflation."


The science behind Neuralink is hard

In order to get this right, Elon has to work on three different fields, as outlined in the article:

  1. molecular medicine –  to make and find the targets,
  2. neuroscience – to figure out how the pathways control the target, and
  3. the device itself – engineering it to do what is has to do.


Maybe Elon is exactly right once again.  We need a little more P.T. Barnum and less Scrooge to push this movement forward right about now.

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