Elon Musk’s Neuralink Claims Monkey Can Play Pong with Brain Implant

Monkey playing pong
CNET/YouTube

Elon Musk’s brain-interface company Neuralink claims a newly released video shows a Macaque monkey playing the classic video game Pong using a brain-implant device.

CNET reports that Neuralink, the brain-implant startup company founded by the SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has released a new video of a nine-year-old monkey named “Pager” purportedly playing Pong using a brain-computer interface.

The video claims to show Pager the monkey learning to control a computer with his brain activity. The monkey initially uses a joystick to interact with the computer in order to receive a “tasty banana smoothie, delivered through a straw.” The video’s narrator states that Pager has two Neuralink devices implanted in his brain; Musk has referred to the devices as a “Fitbit for your skull.”

As Pager the monkey plays the game, the narrator explains that the Neuarlink devices in his brain are reading this brain activity and the activity is being recognized by the computer and decoded. When the joystick is disconnected, the brain implant allegedly allows him to continue playing Pong just using his brain.

Musk alleged in a tweet on Thursday that the first Neuralink product would allow “someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”

In a statement, Neuralink said: “MindPong is an initial demonstration of the potential capabilities of the N1 Link. However, it’s important to remember that it is a small slice of what our device is intended to achieve.”

The company also stated:  “Our first goal is to give people with paralysis their digital freedom back: to communicate more easily via text, to follow their curiosity on the web, to express their creativity through photography and art, and, yes, to play video games.”

Max Hodak, the co-founder of Neuralink, tweeted on Saturday that he believes the startup is technologically advanced enough to create its own “Jurassic Park.” Hodak stated: “We could probably build Jurassic Park if we wanted to. Wouldn’t be genetically authentic dinosaurs but [shrugging emoji]. maybe 15 years of breeding + engineering to get super exotic novel species.”

Read more about Neuralink and Mindpong at CNET here.

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