Elon Musk founded Neuralink in 2016. Since that time, the company's work has been veiled in secrecy — job listings and cryptic updates from Musk have only fueled speculation.
All we really know is that Neuralink is working on brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), a technology that allows people to effectively control computer chips with their minds.
Now, the veil is set to be lifted, as the neurotech company will be live-streaming an event on Tuesday, July 16, that will outline what they have been working on.
Live-streamed to your brain
The announcement and details were revealed on Neuralink's official Twitter account:
It will also be livestreamed, for those who don't have the chance to come!— Neuralink (@neuralink) 11 July 2019
As of writing, there is no concrete information on the time of the event — which will take place in San Francisco in front of a select audience — or what platforms the stream will be available on.
Update 15.07.19: Neuralink has since tweeted, "livestream details will be available on our website shortly before event start at 8pm Pacific Time on Tuesday July 16th."
The company's website offers no further information. Aside from job listings, Neuralink's web page simply says:
"Neuralink is developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers."
This means that the live-stream of July 16 will be the first real unveiling of Neuralink's work on BCIs.
Speculation is already gaining pace online about what will be revealed. On paper, BCIs can link human beings with the vastly enhanced capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI).
Is the Singularity near?
Some believe that linking our biological bodies to AI would lead to 'the Singularity' as theorized by Ray Kurzweil — where human minds merge with AI and transcend biology.
In his book, The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil theorizes that technology will lead to the exponential growth of human intelligence, reaching a point where we are capable of superhuman cognition.
Technology, he writes, already acts as an aid to our brain capacity. Further advances in technology will, therefore, aid us in creating even more advanced technology that will further boost our capacity.
So technology boosts our brain capacity and vice versa — this feedback loop, in theory, will cause an exponential upward curve of brain capability.
Kurzweil, an inventor and entrepreneur himself, suggests that the implications of billions of people having this superhuman cognition would go beyond the current understanding of our biological brains.
You are already a cyborg
Though the singularity theory does have its detractors, Elon Musk has long been a proponent. In an interview on Joe Rogan's podcast last year, Musk was asked what Neuralink's purpose was.
The SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink man replied that the company has set out to "create a high-bandwidth interface to the brain, such that we can be symbiotic with AI."
Musk followed this by saying, "we have a bandwidth problem. You just can't communicate with your fingers, it's too slow."
The questions then became more abstract, touching on the future of AI and what it means for humanity. When Rogan asked how linking AI to our brains will enhance our capabilities, Musk replied, "you are already a cyborg" essentially.
We are already immeasurably smarter with a smartphone, Musk explained — the devices have a perfect memory and allow us to look up any question in seconds.
Merging AI and the human brain goes a step beyond this, and "it would allow anyone who wants [it] to have superhuman cognition," Musk continued, leading to Rogan saying, "pass me the whiskey, this is getting too weird."
Aside from those working inside Neuralink, the person who might know the most about the behind-the-scenes of the company is Tim Urban of Wait But Why.
In 2017, Urban was given first-hand access by Musk and wrote a piece about the experience — with the disclaimer that he wasn't allowed to reveal too much about the inner workings of the company.
Next Tuesday we'll have a much better idea of what Neuralink is capable of ourselves — and whether the AI hype is to be believed, or if Kurzweil's theories will have to remain science fiction for now.