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Tesla monkey play ping pong with its mind

The demonstration by Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company Neuralink is an example of a brain-machine interface in action, a nine-year-old macaque monkey named Pager successfully played a game of Pong with its mind. A coin-sized disc called a “Link” was implanted by a precision surgical robot into Pager’s brain, connecting thousands of micro threads from the chip to neurons responsible for controlling motion. Pager was first shown how to play Pong in the conventional way, using a joystick. When he made a correct move, he’d receive a sip of banana smoothie. As he played, the Neuralink implant recorded the patterns of electrical activity in his brain. This identified which neurons controlled which movements. The joystick could then be disconnected, after which Pager played the game using only his mind — doing so like a boss. This Neuralink demo built on an earlier one from 2020, which involved Gertrude the Pig. Gertrude had the Link installed and output recorded, but no specific task was assessed. Neuralink’s technology could help people who are paralysed with spinal or brain injuries, by giving them the ability to control computerised devices with their minds. This would provide paraplegics, quadriplegics and stroke victims the liberating experience of doing things by themselves again.


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