No matter what you think of Elon Musk, you can't accuse him of sitting idle. He's planning to save our planet by igniting an electric vehicle revolution with Tesla, all while SpaceX takes steps toward colonizing a new home for humanity on Mars.
As if that wasn't enough, Musk is coming for your brain. In July, Musk unveiled Neuralink -- a project designed to create an interface between our minds and our machines.
Of course, we already have an interface. Our fingers tap away at keyboards for much of the day, and we're seeing advancements in voice computing that allow us to schedule meetings, play music, and even order a fresh bag of dog food without pressing a button. To Musk, these existing interfaces aren't good enough.
Neuralink is an attempt to create a Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) that cuts out those pesky, inefficient middlemen known as thumbs and enables users to control phones, keyboards, and other devices with their brains.
For patients with certain disabilities and disorders, this technology could be incredibly liberating. For the average user, it sounds a lot like giving a tech company uninhibited access to your brain.
Tech can't protect
There are plenty of examples of tech companies dropping the ball on data security, but there are also instances where they've made morally dubious decisions to make a buck. Or lots and lots of bucks.
Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible," but universal accessibility took a back seat in Project Dragonfly -- a (formerly) secret plan to create a search engine for the Chinese market that would abide by the government's censorship demands.
Here at home, it's been repeatedly established that major wireless carriers sell our real-time location data, and the frequent denials -- followed by promises to stop -- underline the severity of the trust issue.
Still, real-time location data gathered every seven seconds is nothing compared to the data constantly generated by billions of neurons in our brains.
The technology Neuralink is striving for what could have the inspiring capacity to improve the lives of people with disabilities, helping them move, see, and hear in ways they probably thought they never would again. It makes sense that someone as ambitious as Musk would want to go farther, but he'll have to convince a population that's understandably reluctant to place trust in big tech -- and that will take some heart.