On this week’s podcast program Sway, you can re-listen to a September 2020 interview between host Kara Swisher and Elon Musk. This was long before all the Twitter nonsense, when Mr. Musk was still focused on cars and space (mostly). The discussion covers plenty of topics, including the need to settle Mars (Mr. Musk disagress with Jeff Bezos who he said believes a space station will be enough to save humanity from an existential crisis), neural implants, and a return to the Moon.
You can tell the program is dated because Mr. Musk complains that NASA cannot find a way to return to the Moon, whereas today we have the Artemis lunar program that includes SpaceX as one of its contractors. Nonetheless, it is good to hear from the old Musk when he was a little more focused.
Then again, the neural implants still seem odd. Neuralink, a company he co-founded, is focusing on those with disabilities at the moment, but the application is expected to be more widespread:
Neuralink is currently focused on making medical devices. These devices have the potential to help people with a wide range of injuries and neurological disorders, and we hope to develop treatments for many of these conditions in the coming years. We expect that as our devices continue scale, and as we learn to communicate with more areas of the brain, we will discover new, non-medical applications for our [brain-machine interface] BMIs. Neuralink’s long-term vision is to create BCIs that are sufficiently safe and powerful that the general population would want to have them.
In a Fortune magazine article, “Elon Musk Claims Neuralink’s Brain Implants will ‘Save’ Memories Like Photos and Help Paraplegics Walk Again. Here’s a Reality Check,” the authors take him to task on his neural implant idea, stating:
Helping paraplegics walk and curing brain disorders are certainly noble goals. And, hey, ordering a pizza just by thinking about it sounds cool. But many experts are concerned that Musk is seriously overhyping what Neuralink’s implants will be able to accomplish.
Elon Musk overhyping an idea? Never!
Check it out. You can download the podcast at the New York Times, the Apple Store, and elsewhere.