The initial applications of this technology would be to help people with spinal cord injuries and other central nervous system-related problems regain some mobility, but will eventually be used to connect human brains directly with artificial intelligence.
In a podcast with Joe Rogan in September 2018, Musk said that Neuralink will enable "superhuman cognition", and that humans are already cyborgs, except for the slow data rate in the interface - the smartphone.
"This has the potential to solve several brain-related diseases".
After being injected into the brain, these threads - which are finer and smaller than a human hair - monitor neuron activity and so could, in theory, detect and analyze brain activity and thought.
Referring to the 4×4 millimeter chip as a brain-machine interface, the implant would allow willing humans achieve a "symbiosis with artificial intelligence".
"They are tiny electrodes and the robot is delicately implanting them", Musk said, noting there could be thousands of the electrodes connected to a brain. "The idea is to understand and treat brain disorders, preserve and enhance your own brain and create a well-aligned future", Musk told the audience at an event here late Tuesday.
Given that the company is in its pre-infancy stage, the first set of job openings at Neuralink are focused on what is likely the toughest task ahead: engineering and designing a product that will do what Musk says it will do.
Hodak shared Musk's optimism that Neuralink technology might one day - relatively soon - help humans with an array of ailments, like helping amputees regain mobility or helping people hear, speak and see.
Neuralink released an unpublished research paper outlining the company's progress, but it wasn't peer-reviewed, as is standard for scientific breakthroughs.
A livestreamed presentation on Tuesday evening USA time revealed that the company's tech involves incredibly fine "threads", covered in electrodes, inserted into the brain by a robot surgeon and implanted next to neurons and synapses. "It will take a long time".
In a research paper, Neuralink said it has performed at least 19 surgeries on animals with its robots and successfully placed the wires, which it calls "threads", in about 87% of operations. Mechanical Animals As odd as this sounds, Neuralink might be onto something, as they did a demonstration in which a linked up laboratory rat read information from 1,500 electrodes - 15 times greater than current systems embedded in humans.
The start-up is seeking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to start human clinical trials to put their studies to the test.
"I think this is going to be important at a civilization-wide scale", Musk said at the event.