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Neuralink President Max Hodak announces that he has left the company

Illustration for the article titled Neuralink President announces that he has left Elon Musk's Brain-Computer Interface Company

Photo: Find McNamee (Getty Images)

Max Hodak, the President of Neuralink, a company that aims to connect human brains with computers co-founded by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, have said he left the company a few weeks ago. Hodak gave no reason for his departure.

In a post on Twitter on Saturday, Hodak, who is also a co-founder of Neuralink, said he learned “a ton” from the company and that he remained a “huge cheerleader ”for that. Although Hodak did not reveal where he was going, he mentioned that he was moving on to new things. In response to a comment hit seemed to cross “Jurassic Park” as a possible option, a reference to his recent statement that Neuralink could probably build an actual version by Steven Spielberg’s Dinosaur Clone Park.

“Would not be genetically authentic dinosaurs, however,” Hodak listed on Twitter on April 4, adding a man pulling emoji on his shoulders. “Maybe 15 years of breeding + technique to get super exotic new species.”

As someone who used to have nightmares about dinosaurs as a child because of Jurassic Park, I say no thank you.

Launchein 2017, Neuralink aims to use ultra-high bandwidth brain interfacesor implantable chips to connect human brains with computers. Musk has stated one different uses for the product, from enabling someone with paralysis to use a smartphone in mind to let paraplegics go again. Neuralink could also help humans achieve a “symbiosis” with artificial intelligence, according to Musk, allowing us to be on the same level as our advanced technologies.

Neuralink made headlines in April when it announced that it had succeeded in getting a monkey named Pager to play video games Pong
with his mind and published a video that apparently demonstrated this. Researchers had implanted a Neuralink on each side of the nine-year-old monkey brain about six weeks before recording the video.

Before you learn to play Pong, researchers taught Pager how to use a joystick and reward him with a banana smoothie delivered through a straw as he moved a cursor to an illuminated block on the screen. This exercise enabled the Neuralink devices in his brain to record its activity via the more than 2,000 electrodes implanted in the regions of the motor bark, which coordinate hand and arm movements.

The data was then entered into a Neuralink decoder algorithm to predict the monkey’s intentional hand movements. After a few minutes of calibration, the decoder understood Pager’s neural patterns well enough that the monkey no longer needed the joystick to move the cursor to the block. Pager could move it with his mind, said the video’s narrator. A demonstration of so-called MingPong followed.

Monkeys are not the only ones with Neuralinks in the brain. The company is too test their technology on pigs, although not published any videos of pigs playing Pong. Musk has stated that the Food and Drug Administration had given Neuralink status as a “breakthrough device”, a classification speeding up the development, assessment and review of medical deloads.

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