back to article You Musk be joking: A mind-reading Neuralink chip in a pig's brain? Downloadable memories? Telepathy? Watch and judge for yourself

In a late Friday evening reveal, Elon Musk updated the world on his Neuralink brain-to-computer interface startup, with the help of three little piggies. Specifically, his team revealed it has implanted a mind-reading gadget in a live pig's brain. The porcine test subjects were: a control animal; one who has had the implant in …

  1. Sanctimonious Prick
    Happy

    Eyes Back Head

    So, with a webcam or two, I could have eyes on the back of my head?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Eyes Back Head

      "So, with a webcam or two, Musk could have eyes on the back of your head."

      FTFY

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eyes Back Head

        So you steal his joke and just make a snide comment?

        Jake, you are a craven poltroon.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Eyes Back Head

          New here?

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Eyes Back Head

      The human brain is not wired to have more than two eyes so it wouldn't work well.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Eyes Back Head

        The human brain is not wired to have more than two eyes so it wouldn't work well.

        Why not?

        Apparently we have 'four heads' (foreheads).

        ...less said about how many 'skins', the better.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Eyes Back Head

          Davy Crockett had three ears ... a left and a right like most of us, and a wild front ear.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Eyes Back Head

            And James T Kirk's final front ear.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Eyes Back Head

        "The human brain is not wired to have more than two eyes so it wouldn't work well."

        It's not the eyes, it's the threads ... I can easily keep an eye on a bank of ten active monitors, and understand whatever is going on on all of them. Ask any veteran of a network operations center. Human brains are multitasking analog parallel processors ... and anybody can utilize that capability, IF they are allowed to develop that skill.

        Now, I'm not saying that we could process another binocular stream with the same level of detail and interpolation that our "normal vision"[0] is capable of ... but I can see where three or four configurable[1] extra inputs of SVGA resolution or thereabouts could come in handy.

        I'd jump at the chance to try it ... but NOT if it required a network connection to operate.

        [0] Whatever that is ...

        [1] Seeing into the infrared and/or ultraviolet would be interesting ... as would choosing which frequencies of the total bandwidth to display. For example, seeing light the way a honeybee sees light would make you choose the flowers in your garden quite a bit differently, depending on if you were allergic to bees, or if you were a beekeeper. Would also be useful in farming, hunting, fishing ... And I needn't tell a biker how useful such a technology would be.

  2. Keythong
    FAIL

    Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

    Every person's brain, nerves, senses, and muscle structure are probably unique, probably even for genetically identical clones too, so it'll probably always be a significant customised challenge to encode/decode neural signals. The bodies communications are probably rather more complex than realised, using electrical, radio, and chemical signalling.

    Remote control, not using muscle nerves, will probably be a lot harder than they suggest; even prosthetic limbs using muscle nerve signals probably require plenty of user training to learn to use, because of the above uniqueness. Complex senses like sight and hearing are probably going to be damned hard to do if attempts are made to bypass the learned, complex structure and circuitry of the eyes and ears.

    Backing up memories is not happening with so little and only electrical sensing, you'd need something like a 3D "Culture" "Lace", grown into the brain, to do that, and probably outside the skull too e.g. some of what enables us to think maybe outside the skull too, like neurons in the spine and gut, and several semiconducting radio nodes (meridians) spread across the body.

    Some people have suggested that the brain is a mass of continuously competing non-linear entities, with the consciousness providing the illusion of unity; hardware simulation of neurons will probably never create a true AI, including so-called Quantum computers, which probably won't scale.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

      To call the tech ''flawed' requires the aim to be defined. Now, Elon's MO is to set himself a very distant, ambitious (and often fuzzily defined) aim, but create a sustainable business model with more modest technical goals to move in that direction.

      So, if we ignore his aim (that is effectively the Neural Lace from Bank's fictional Culture), the short term goals - and tech - appear sane, and not flawed. Musk's *aim* is to get to Mars, but knowing that doesn't render SpaceX's technology ' fatally flawed'.

      You mention hearing as hard to do - cochlear implants have been in use for years, and whilst they're not hi-fi, they allow someone to hear enough to hold a conversation. Similarly, if you lost your sight, you might find even the equivalent of 100x100 pixels enough to walk around whilst avoiding walls and tables.

      I know people with cochlear implants, and Parkinsons patients with a silicon chips implanted in them. I also know people with epilepsy, some who are tied to drugs and regular sleep and meal times, others who have elected to have a small bit of their brain zapped. And I did know one who didn't, sadly.

      The very elasticity and leaning that brains do also has the potential to allow the brain to adopt to the technology, not just vice versa. Today we have non-invasive skull sensors that a user can learn to clumsily control a mouse cursor.

      A low cost, low risk system for monitoring and stimulating the brain? Useful today for many people. A magic wizard hat that can back up your brain? Yeah, that's pure speculation. We likely won't get the Neural Lace, but we will get better biocompatible materials and a better understanding of how our brains work.

      1. Fursty Ferret

        Re: Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

        I think the brain elasticity mentioned in the comment above above is key to this. Despite being a bit of a media yuppy Kevin Warwick managed to demonstrate this with a simple ultra-sonic distance sensor on a baseball cap linked to the simple chip he put in his wrist. After a couple of hours of use he demonstrated instinctive flinching from an object moving towards him while blindfolded.

        1. Persona Silver badge

          Re: Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

          After a couple of hours of use he demonstrated instinctive flinching from an object moving towards him while blindfolded.

          That must have been fun for the person controlling the object especially as Kevin was blindfolded so couldn't tell if said object was a balloon on a stick or a baseball bat.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

      "prosthetic limbs using muscle nerve signals probably require plenty of user training to learn to use"

      We already have prosthetics that work by sensing muscle twitches and nerve impulses and yes, they do take time for each individual to learn to control. I can only imagine using a brain implant sensor is likely to be at the same level of required training if not more so.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

        We already have prosthetics that work by sensing muscle twitches and nerve impulses and yes, they do take time for each individual to learn to control.

        Takes a while for individuals to learn to control the natural ones at first, as well.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Reductionist science, thus fatally flawed speculative tech.

      well, when you consider how existing prosthetics like cochlear implants work. it would seem "the differences" from one person's brain to another might not be all that significant for this kind of tech.

      My guess; a training period will be required.

      Still it made me think of "Ghost in the Shell", and the kinds of 'mind hacks' that were possible. Some pre-emptive defense against THAT, or having your "cloud memories" altered [and then YOU convinced that the ones in the cloud are "the real ones"] and things of that nature, might be needed before this kind of tech goes, well, "live".

  3. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    ...it won't be the one implant, will it? It'll be tens of thousands of implants which will be as easy to remove as his blasted space vandalism satellites

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Yep, the goals stated aren't compatible with one single chip at a particular location, that's just not how the brain works, it's not a data bus you can tap into. Creating a control surface is probably do-able, the primary motor area is quite well defined, on the surface, and has a kind of topographic mapping to the body. Monitoring vision? That's at the back of the brain, and lots of it is in the calcarine sulcus, possibly the deepest fold in the brain. At this stage we should mention the brain in its normal state has a consistency only a little firmer than jelly.

      Memories? Well, that's an entirely different ball game, we first have to ask what type of memory. If it's how to read or wield a hammer then in the associative regions at the sides, but also tying in other parts of the brain (like the visual and auditory areas for reading and motor areas---secondary I think---for hammers). Ah, you want episodic memory? Hippocampus, folded deep within the brain, good luck getting in there without touching anything else. Try not to damage it or no new memories for you my friend.

      Hang on, there's a bit called the thalamus that a lot of connections go through (but not all), let's try that! Oh, it's a dense 3D junction box located right in the middle of the brain.

      All this is of course after the risks involved in opening the skull up at all.

      Potentially useful for people with spinal injuries and other such life-changing problems (like optic nerve damage)? Yes. Wire you in to your xbox? No.

  4. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Elon-gated kit

    Musk tends to dream big dreams and build workable kit as a step towards it. But the dreams don't go away and often just get more outlandish. Like his self driving Teslas which allow you to watch movies instead of drive. Right up until you smash into a parked police car (in the latest incident). And while SpaceX rockets and capsules are great, colonizing Mars is, at best, problematic and terraforming Mars is crazy.

    This latest dream could be a useful development in automated implant surgery and even the neural link could benefit certain severe cases of brain malfunction.But I wouldn't want to see the rest of his pipedream happen even if it could.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Elon-gated kit

      > Like his self driving Teslas which allow you to watch movies instead of drive.

      That idiot was watching the movie on his *phone*, not on any part of the car's dashboard. Watching things on your phone is something that all cars *allow* you to do, not just Teslas.

      The difference between what a car will allow you to do and what you should do is why we have driving tests, licences, insurance companies and criminal culpability.

      1. Alumoi

        Re: Elon-gated kit

        But not all cars pretend to have an autopilot.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Elon-gated kit

      > colonizing Mars is, at best, problematic

      People who claim things are problematic aren't being problematic - they are often a problem. It often means that they are concerned about something, but they either can't think through the sticking points, or that they don't feel they have the space to state them (which is fair enough).

      Do you value life? Good. Now, how does one compare the value of a human where you live and the life of a human in, say, Patagonia? Good. What about the life of human living today compared to the life of a human who will live in one hundred years time? Okay. What about the the lives of all the humans who will ever live if our species survives for millions of years? Do those lives not have value? Many more souls than have ever lived to date.

      The answers are open to debate. Asking these questions is not. I have a lot of sympathy for the desire for us to sort out our shit out on this planet rather than escape - but that's a false dichotomy. Of course it's better to avert a flood than it is to build an ark. However, it's not a mutually exclusive choice between making every effort to keep the Earth habitable and looking towards another basket to keep our eggs in.

      Earth destroyed by a meteorite is low risk - its extreme severity multiplied by low occurrence. Climate change, nuclear war, nutters, pandemics (more likely than ever due to our population density and farming practices, even ignoring a nutter with a gene sequencer) are also large existential threats. Meteorite risk and climate change risk to Earth are mitigated by low cost of getting hardware to space, and by electric transport and power grid infrastructures - does it matter that a proponent of these technologies really wants them for Mars?

      Of course much more needs to be done to reduce risks to our beautiful planet and beauti... er, species. Let's get at it!

      (I was going to say beautiful species, but remembered Frank Zappa's 'Dumb all over, a little ugly on the side')

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Elon-gated kit

        Can't ignore maths. Colonising space may help guarantee humanity's future survival, but it will never solve population or resource problems on Earth due to the lifting requirements, an ark is only an escape mechanism for a few (remember what happened to the rest of mankind in that story, and indeed everything else, except fish, the almighty is apparently happy with the fish).

        1. FeepingCreature

          Re: Elon-gated kit

          I see, so Elon Musk may only help guarantee humanity's long-term survival. Clearly he is a charlatan and a fraud.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Elon-gated kit

          > Can't ignore maths... an ark is only an escape mechanism for a few.

          So, do the maths:

          Say a few thousand people (plus frozen sperm and embryos of neglible mass) escape a doomed Earth, and 9 billion people die. However, the escapees have the potential to lead to countless future generations, upwards of trillions of human lives that otherwise would not be lived.

          It is only our human bias* for valuing current human lives higher than future human lives that causes us to pause when considering an ark. The maths is actually very clear.

          And that is true even before we remember that attempts to colonise Mars do not increase the chance of those left on Earth succumbing to extinction. Indeed, it *might* be the opposite, if whatever existential threat an Earth based population faces can be avoided or mitigated with space-based hardware (i.e weather satellites, communication gear for coordinating quarantines, asteroid detection and asteroid diversion equipment).

          *Human bias that has been explored by the Trolley Problem and its descendants

          1. First Light Bronze badge

            Re: Elon-gated kit

            I wish Musk would put all of his energy and efforts toward Martian colonization into fixing Earth. We evolved on this planet, even if a spaceship some centuries from now (and Hawkings suggested we have only 100 years left here) manages to land on a Goldilocks-zone planet it will still take getting used to.

            And then we would start the process of destroying the new planet all over again . . .

            1. Filippo

              Re: Elon-gated kit

              He kinda is. Consider this: for political reasons, a lot of money is currently being pumped into developing better solar panels. This is good. Unfortunately, really good solar panels alone will not allow us to get rid of non-renewables. Even if you could make a 100% efficiency panel, it still wouldn't be good enough at night, when it's cloudy, or in high-latitude regions.

              What you need to really get rid of fossils/nukes is really good solar panels AND really good batteries to efficiently store excess energy AND really good conductors to efficiently ship it around.

              Now that electric cars are considered a serious proposition, lots of money is being pumped into developing better batteries.

              If underground frictionless maglev trains, another of Musk's projects, are going to be a thing, guess which technology is going to get a major R&D boost? That's right, superconductors.

              He is *also* catalyzing space exploration, because only simpletons have only one objective.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Elon-gated kit

                > Even if you could make a 100% efficiency panel, it still wouldn't be good enough at night,

                Hence grid storage. If only someone made and sold banks of batteries... oh, wait, they do, using batteries that didn't make the power density grade for electric vehicles.

                Not that that's original - see Reg article about pumped water electricity storage in Wales. Designed for supplying spikes in demand. Pumped up at night when electricity demand is lower.

                Also: why do solar panels need to be 100% efficient? Even a 20% efficient panel would be an improvement on a tiled roof (0% efficient) once the power costs of its manufacture has been repaid.

              2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                Re: Elon-gated kit

                What so many people forget is that it is a petrochemical industry - using petroleum, and to a lesser extent coal, based chemicals as fuel is only a very small part of the entire industry. Our industry relies on the entire petrochemical chain therefore thinking only about solar panels, which usually require extensive petrochemical derivatives to manufucture, is only thinking about a tiny part of the problem.

                A key thing to remember about petrochemicals is that they are condensed (often rather literally) natural resources and there is nothing inherently unnatural about them just that we are using these plant originated concentrates inconceivably faster than they are created. They can be replaced by lower (energy) density plant based products however this creates additional problems involving land use efficiency. A smarter way to proceed involves both somehow creating processes that are considerably more efficient than the plant based processes (tailored bacteria, chemical processes and so on) but also to change the dependency on some chemicals in the petrochemical industry to more renewable alternatives. Neither of these are without risk or downsides and neither are likely to be common until they are economically more viable than just extracting the concentrated petrochemicals from the Earth and using tried and established processing methods.

            2. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Elon-gated kit

              > I wish Musk would put all of his energy and efforts toward Martian colonization into fixing Earth.

              Besides his efforts to decarbonise road transport, reduce urban road congestion with tunnels, develop solar power infrastructure and grid storage, push for high speed rail systems as an alternative to internal air travel, set up a research to group to keep an eye on potential threats from future AIs, and inspiring young people to become engineers by making cool rockets?

              What have the Romans ever done for us?

              And of course there is much more to be done to make our existence on earth more sustainable, responsible and enjoyable.

              Seriously though, if you want to help the most humans on earth right now for the least amount of money, give your money to people distributing malaria nets. In terms of lives saved per dollar, the best performing humanitarian charities are 1000x better than the least performing, and 100x better than the median. That's right now. I don't know if the analysis considered instead giving money to malaria research so that future generations might not fear malaria - current lives vs future lives. Of course mosquitos spread other diseases too such as Dengue or Zika, and potentially viruses that have not yet mutated to infect humans.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Elon-gated kit

                Besides his efforts to decarbonise road transport, reduce urban road congestion with tunnels, develop solar power infrastructure and grid storage, push for high speed rail systems as an alternative to internal air travel, set up a research to group to keep an eye on potential threats from future AIs, and inspiring young people to become engineers by making cool rockets?

                What have the Romans ever done for us?

                Sucked in billions in public subsidy, and burned most of it. Tesla's only vaguely profitable thanks to financial engineering and EV credits. The latter being.. dubious given those were supposed to end once volumes were hit. Plus Tesla's competitors are now making their own EVs, so won't need to buy credits from Tesla. And then of course there's the general competition, ie people buying VAG EVs, not Teslas.

                Then there's the boring stuff, so the Hypeloop, or just the Vegas convention center's 'mass' transit system. Which went from artists impressions of pods to parking lots for Model 3 'pods'. So handy to cross-sell 'pods' from Tesla to TBC to pad sales figures, but capable of carrying fewer passengers than say, Heathrow Express or the DLR. But at least Vegas conference atendees won't run the risk of explosive decompression because there seems to be a slowly dawning recognition that vac tubes aren't new, and would be f'ng dangerous.

                Then there's solar. Again nothing new, but keeping it in the family lead to Tesla bailing out SolarCity. Solar tiles announced, then withdrawn, a few fires (Walmart) and kind of spared becoming the next Solyndra. But part of the great, battery powered future that's sucked up more public money for large battery packs, with a few potential.. snags. See for example-

                https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09784-z

                This paper presents quantitative measurements of heat release and fluoride gas emissions during battery fires for seven different types of commercial lithium-ion batteries. The results have been validated using two independent measurement techniques and show that large amounts of hydrogen fluoride (HF) may be generated, ranging between 20 and 200 mg/Wh of nominal battery energy capacity. In addition, 15–22 mg/Wh of another potentially toxic gas, phosphoryl fluoride (POF3), was measured in some of the fire tests.

                And now there's lipstick on a pig. Conventiently announced just before Trump announced a large slab of public funding for AI research. Throw more money Elon's way, and soon they'll have the world's first self-driving pig! Yey!

                But funding aside, there'll be the tricky problem of any human trials, and outcomes of those trials. Like avoiding infection, rejection, brain damage. But on the plus side, once humans are fully wired, think of the revenue potential from flogging feature licences! Oh, and if you want to uninstall, well, that'll be some expensive and risky neurosurgery. But nothing new in this announcement from the world's greatest showman.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Elon-gated kit

                  "Sucked in billions in public subsidy, and burned most of it."

                  Nope, plenty of cash left and profitable. Public subsidy is given to ensure employment and taxes for a region. It is up to that region to decide what that is worth and set strict criteria against it. Which they have.

                  You know, if you want to talk about subsidies then you could look towards the traditional car industry who all flew in by private jets to talk about needing help form the government to save them from annihilation during the global financial crisis or the government money ploughed into space companies to ensure that space travel remained out-of-reach expensive with contracts designed to make more money the more expensive it was to make something. Or the fossil fuel subsidies that are still given to this day.

                  "The latter being.. dubious given those were supposed to end once volumes were hit"

                  You're conflating two different things. The credits towards buying a car were for the consumer and were stopped at a certain volume. The requirement for a certain level of average CO2 across a fleet still exists and for another car company to pay Tesla for some credits goes a long way to ensuring they develop their own EVs so they don't have to. That is a good thing, isn't it?

                  "Plus Tesla's competitors are now making their own EVs, so won't need to buy credits from Tesla. And then of course there's the general competition, ie people buying VAG EVs, not Teslas."

                  Ahh yes, the famous competition just round the corner. That would be great, if they would do that. There would be much greater take up of EVs which will benefit everyone. It's just that it is always around the corener and the cars being produced are struggling to match an 8 year old Tesla. I am in the market for an EV and yet the cars on the horizon never seem to live up to their claims or they just don't arrive. I don't really want to buy a VW ID3 that they might fix the software on one day after I bought it.

                  As for Hyperloop, that was always meant to be opened out for others to try to create. Hence Elon's company is the Boring Company, building tunnels, not building a Hyperloop. It may be that the Vegas convention centre is niche, but so what. It is clean, and there has been plenty of time for someone else to build something to do it. So look at how long the Jubilee line or crossrail took compared to the timescales of that tunnel. Some of it is just about getting projects done quickly.

                  "... slowly dawning recognition that vac tubes aren't new, and would be f'ng dangerous.". They haven't been done before, and they could be dangerous. Similar to how flying is dangerous, or submaries, or space travl or roller coasters. So you just make them as safe as possible to mitigate the risks, surely. If we only did things that were 100% safe you'd never leave your 'unpowered' house.

                  As for battery fires, you know there's been no battery storage facility explosions, but plenty of Oil disasters and a few nuclear disasters. See the point above about safety.

                  " Like avoiding infection, rejection, brain damage"

                  Kinda known about for a very long time, as much as 300 years ago.

                  Did you lose a lot of money betting against Tesla shares recently by any chance?

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Elon-gated kit

                    Nope, plenty of cash left and profitable. Public subsidy is given to ensure employment and taxes for a region. It is up to that region to decide what that is worth and set strict criteria against it. Which they have.

                    Ah, yes.. So Musk threatening to move out of California to Texas if Tesla wasn't allowed to break Cali's Covid restrictions. Or Buffalo, NY, home of the 'Gigafactory'. Built by NY, donated to Tesla on a promise that it would employ people and a home that it would boost NY's tax revenues..

                    Or the fossil fuel subsidies that are still given to this day.

                    Or not. NY again. Increasing tax on petrol and diesel sales. Or for the UK, petroleum companies face higher taxes. But Greens tend to wibble about 'subsidies' by assuming environmental costs as 'subsidies'. Which is also an issue with EVs, ie they're subsidised road users by virtue of credits, lower VED and of course no fuel duty.

                    You're conflating two different things. The credits towards buying a car were for the consumer and were stopped at a certain volume. The requirement for a certain level of average CO2 across a fleet still exists and for another car company to pay Tesla for some credits goes a long way to ensuring they develop their own EVs so they don't have to. That is a good thing, isn't it?

                    Not really. You're right about 2 types of subsidy, one being directly public funded (tax credits), the other indirectly (regulatory credits). Neither is a good thing. Unless you're Elon-

                    https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/tesla%3A-the-vanishing-sentence-that-could-be-worth-billions-2020-08-29

                    Over the trailing 12 months to June 30, Tesla has booked over $1 billion in regulatory credit revenue. While that number accounts for less than 5% of Tesla's total revenue over that period, it contributed a whopping 85% of operating profits.

                    So without the regulatory credits, which are 100% profit for Tesla, it wouldn't be profitable, wouldn't have met S&P inclusion criteria and wouldn't allow Musk to hit his bonus. Which means he wouldn't be able to sell/borrow against his shares to prop up his other ventures. But that's not good news. So yes, it may have stimulated competition. Currently say, Toyota has to buy credits to hit 'fleet' CO2 targets. The policy has helped reduce emissions, ie lower CO2 emissions per ICE. But if Toyota produces an EV, then it generates a credit against it's ICE sales. Other pure-EV manufacturers can also emulate Tesla and sell the credits generated.

                    So the that's a bit of a slow-motion train wreck. If EV competition increases as a result of consumer demand, or regulatory policy (ie banning new ICEs), the number of EV credits produced increases, Tesla's share reduces and the value of those credits reduces. So Tesla can't rely on the $1bn it made over the last 4 quarters, which is problematic, especially as Tesla's market share is declining. There's also the bit about the change in revenue recognition for those credits, ie if Tesla's pre-booking those to hit it's 4Q's of 'profit'.

                    So look at how long the Jubilee line or crossrail took compared to the timescales of that tunnel. Some of it is just about getting projects done quickly.

                    They're a different scale, either by way of complexity or ability to transport far more passengers per hour. TBC has boldly re-invented the drainage pipe making it just about large enough to drive a car through. Something Hollywood did years ago..

                    So you just make them as safe as possible to mitigate the risks, surely. If we only did things that were 100% safe you'd never leave your 'unpowered' house.

                    But then there's physics, and boring engineering. So the idea is over 100yrs old. We know about making vacuum chambers and pressure vessels, so the forces involved in creating a hard vacuum between LA & SF. Then how to insert a pressurised 'pod' into that unpressurised tube, and propel it.. Which is a whole lot harder, and why several years after the Hypeloop was announced, the reality is something slower than a boring old high-speed train or maglev.

                    As for battery fires, you know there's been no battery storage facility explosions, but plenty of Oil disasters and a few nuclear disasters.

                    ...Yet. There are relatively few large-scale battery banks, but the Green lobby is demanding more, so give it time. But those are another aspect to the technological revolution that Greens tend to ignore. So if you have cheap, reliable power, you don't need large batteries. If you try to rely on wind & solar.. you do, not to mention those being far more expensive as well as unreliable. And then there's increased demand for cheap, reliable energy due to EVs, and decarbonising transport and heating.

                    Kinda known about for a very long time, as much as 300 years ago.

                    Yep, so again nothing new from the Hypemeister. I did some work in this field when I was at Uni and remember a doc from probably 50yrs ago where scientists hooked sensors to a patient's optic chiasma and displayed grainy images via a DIN connector on the back of their head. That's progressed since to higher resolution (and safer) experiments. But the scientifically illiterate have been impressed and amazed by Musk's incredible dancing pig..

                    Did you lose a lot of money betting against Tesla shares recently by any chance?

                    Nope. I'm just amazed that 'investors' keep buying in to the hype. But it's not the shorts, but the usual problem of the bigger the bubble, the bigger the bang.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Elon-gated kit

                      "Ah, yes.. So Musk threatening to move out of California to Texas if Tesla wasn't allowed to break Cali's Covid restrictions. Or Buffalo, NY, home of the 'Gigafactory'. Built by NY, donated to Tesla on a promise that it would employ people and a home that it would boost NY's tax revenues.."

                      You seem to have lost track of the point you were treying to make?

                      "Or not. NY again. Increasing tax on petrol and diesel sales. "

                      Once again, confusing subsidies from consumer incentives/disincentives. Subsidies are provided to corporation, "NY again" means nothing, not sure what your point is.

                      "While that number accounts for less than 5% of Tesla's total revenue over that period, it contributed a whopping 85% of operating profits.

                      So without the regulatory credits, which are 100% profit for Tesla, it wouldn't be profitable,"

                      If credits are 100% pure profit and they accounted for 85% of operating profits then they would still have 15% operating profits and therefore still be profitable? Your maths is as good as your argument...

                      " If EV competition increases as a result of consumer demand, or regulatory policy (ie banning new ICEs), the number of EV credits produced increases, Tesla's share reduces and the value of those credits reduces."

                      Yeah, discuss again when that competition has arrived and is selling in numbers enough to make this scenario true. It would be great for no manufacturer to need to buy credits as they are all selling EVs in sufficient quantity, a win for everyone (expect the petroleum industry of course).

                      "Then how to insert a pressurised 'pod' into that unpressurised tube, and propel it.. Which is a whole lot harder, and why several years after the Hypeloop was announced, the reality is something slower than a boring old high-speed train or maglev."

                      You keep going back to hyperloop which is being progressed by different companies at the moment. I feel it isn't a difficult problem to solve at all - the difficult problem will be of economics. The same issue that SpaceX was told it would face when they started out.

                      "There are relatively few large-scale battery banks, but the Green lobby is demanding more, so give it time. But those are another aspect to the technological revolution that Greens tend to ignore. So if you have cheap, reliable power, you don't need large batteries. If you try to rely on wind & solar.. you do, not to mention those being far more expensive as well as unreliable. "

                      Once again, you seem to have lost your train of though on an anti-green agenda rant. If you don't need power you don't need large polluting coal fired power stations utilising a non-renewable resource. If you have wind/solar the you have fluctuations - so you use storage, whether pumped hydrro, battery storage, gas pressure vessels to allow you to use green energy all day around. Wind and solar, expensive??? Compared to what? Only gas or natural hydro are cheaper - coal and nuclear certainly aren't. Check the amount of money that the hornsdale battery plant has saved the region.

                      "Yep, so again nothing new from the Hypemeister."

                      I'm starting to worry, even your reading comprehension is failing. At least you're "scientifically literate" with your "work in this field when you were at Uni", LOL.

                      "Did you lose a lot of money betting against Tesla shares recently by any chance?

                      Nope. "

                      Strange as you seem to have recycled the arguments of TeslaQ and they are running out of things to say.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Elon-gated kit

                        Once again, confusing subsidies from consumer incentives/disincentives. Subsidies are provided to corporation, "NY again" means nothing, not sure what your point is.

                        NY again meant 1 state with a variety of subsidies. One large slab to build the Gigfactory, the other your 'fossil fuel subsidy' where that's negative, and becomes an increased tax on driving ICEs. But NY has to do something given the state is bleeding cash. Building a factory for the world's most valuable car maker won't have helped..

                        If credits are 100% pure profit and they accounted for 85% of operating profits then they would still have 15% operating profits and therefore still be profitable? Your maths is as good as your argument...

                        My math is fine, your argument is.. familiar. So in the last 2 quarters, Tesla padded it's income by $354m and $428m, up considerably from last year. So net income was $16m and $104m. Now here's the tricky part.. 16-354 is...? and 104-428 is...? I realise you'll struggle with this, but the effect would have been -$338m and -$324m, or what is known in the trade as 'negative income', or loss..

                        It would be great for no manufacturer to need to buy credits as they are all selling EVs in sufficient quantity, a win for everyone (expect the petroleum industry of course)

                        Ah, well..

                        https://www.jato.com/registrations-for-electrified-vehicles-in-europe-hit-volumes-record-in-july/

                        Finally, the pure electric cars (BEV) also showed encouraging results. Registrations jumped from 23,400 units in July 2019 to 53,200 just one year later, and the offer increased from 28 different models available to 38. New models like the Peugeot 209, Mini Electric, MG ZS, Porsche Taycan and Skoda Citigo buoyed the figures. Tesla posted a 76% decline to 1050 units following shipping delays to Europe, as a consequence of production challenges in its Fremont, California plant.

                        Oops. 38 models of EV to pick from, and Tesla only accounting for 1.9% of those. I'm sure once it's spent a pile of cash building it's assembly plant in Germany, things will be fine, and Tesla will be swimming in credits again.

                        You keep going back to hyperloop which is being progressed by different companies at the moment.

                        I'd hardly call the 'Hypeloop' progress..

                        Only gas or natural hydro are cheaper - coal and nuclear certainly aren't. Check the amount of money that the hornsdale battery plant has saved the region.

                        Coal and nuclear are cheaper on account of them being nice, reliable baseload capacity. Hornsdale is.. fun. So NSW leaped boldy into the past and 'invested' in renewables, which were unreliable. So then invested A$161m in a large pile of batteries to try and solve the problems created by those renewables. Mostly to do grid stabilisation because despite it's size & cost, it's unable to provide power for very long. And then of course it'll need recharging.. Hopefully it won't shoot it's load on a calm night.. And then of course there's the increased electricity demand from decarbonisation. Only Greens can turn costs into 'savings'.

                        I'm starting to worry, even your reading comprehension is failing. At least you're "scientifically literate" with your "work in this field when you were at Uni", LOL.

                        Well, it was a few decades ago, and using SQUIDS instead of implants, on account of those needing a lot less paperwork. But I'm sure Elon's loyal fanbase will approve of his animal experimentation..

            3. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Elon-gated kit

              > manages to land on a Goldilocks-zone planet it will still take getting used to. And then we would start the process of destroying the new planet all over again . . .

              Hehe, for sure. However, that's assuming we need planets. If you want as many acres as possible to suport life and only a finite amount of matter in the solar system, planets are a very inefficient way of arranging things. If we weren't at the mercy of our biology (which requires the protection from radiation that our Earth's magnetosohere provides, or else a shit ton of matter around us) our options would be much wider. If we weren't tied to our bodies and thus only really cared about energy, our outlook would be more different still - though would likely tend towards capturing as much energy as we can. None of the above is barred by the laws of physics, its just a question of desire and technology - just as finding a way of seeding life (via seed ships, generation ships, cryostasis) in other star systems is. If we want to ensure our species' survival against a catastrophic event on Earth, then it follows we might also consider seeding life many light years away in case of a supernova local to the solar system.

              Or maybe it's easier to develop a form of philosophy along the lines of "If we and all our descendants ceased to exist tomorrow, we at least know that exist today, and have existed, and that's more than we ever had any right to expect from the universe, and we're good with that"

              "We could program you not to mind" said the mice to Arthur Dent, in response to his protestations at the prospect of his brain being removed and replaced with a computer. Very unreasonable of him - after all, nobody would be able to tell the difference.

          2. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: Elon-gated kit

            You can talk about "human bias", but people value what they value and those trillions are only hypothetical a long way down the road (another difficulty with applying the trolley problem; it assumes perfect knowledge of outcomes). Additionally, if colonisation offers an escape to only a tiny fraction of a percent of people, it will save an even tiny percentage of Earth's biodiversity. The reality of space travel is that it's slow, those future people may never find another Earth and never know a life beyond four metal walls. I'm not against it as an insurance strategy, but we have to recognise it solves no problems for anyone alive today.

            Space-based hardware isn't reliant on such an effort, we already have weather satellites and communication gear. If we want better asteroid detection and diversion strategies then we'd better get working on those.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Elon-gated kit

              > You can talk about "human bias", but people value what they value and those trillions are only hypothetical a long way down the road

              I can talk about human bias because it has been demonstrated experimentally. Repeatidly. We just haven't evolved to look at these issues intuitively.

              But hey, special relativity isn't intuitive, but we grapple with it anyway to make our GPS systems work. Quantum mechanics is not intuitive, but we grapple with it to make transistors work as intended.

              So, if you want to design the best machine you have to look beyond your intuition and use data and theory derived from evidence, experiment and proof. The same goes for designing humanitarian solutions, if you are serious about helping people and not just seeking a feel good factor. There's nothing wrong with using the desire to feel good as a motivating factor - it just has no place dictating strategy.

              As Terry Pratchett noted, it's hard to talk about the workings of the universe using s language designed to tell other sites where the ripe fruit is.

              1. ibmalone Silver badge

                Re: Elon-gated kit

                There's a fundamental flaw in this thinking, taken to its conclusion it says people should want things that they do not want because it optimises some metric. If you make your goal optimising some metric, well, all you do is optimise that metric, to hell with the rest. If we're going to do that then please demonstrate why quality of life for people who actually exist is a better metric than total number of people to ever live. (Bear in mind chickens outnumber people globally, so I guess they're winning?)

                And that's assuming it's actually analytically objective in the first place, so I'll restate the other issue which is it's a pure hypothetical that will run up against very real limits in terms of distances.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Elon-gated kit

      > terraforming Mars is crazy.

      On that I agree - or at least I've never read of how Mars, that doesn't have a magnetosphere, would retain a thicker, breathable atmosphere even if such an atmosphere could be created. So yeah, Musk mooting the detonation of thousands of hydrogen bombs over the Martian poles would be crazy if he was actually in a position to do it. Merely coming up with crazy ideas isn't itself crazy if one always performs *due process* (ie assessing them, putting them out for criticism etc) before putting them in action.

      There is also a school of thought that sending all of mankind's stockpile of nuclear weapons to a dead rock is preferable to having them on Earth, however useless they would be for changing Mars' atmosphere. There isn't a mandated *due process* for launching nuclear weapons on Earth - it's at the whim of the head of state in several countries.

      On the subject of leaving the Earth's magnetosphere, I don't believe the problem of protecting human to travellers from cosmic radiation has yet been solved. Options are: more fuel to make the journey faster, more fuel to allow the spacecraft more rad shielding. Potential options: an artificial magnetosphere for the spacecraft (untested, let alone scaled up, likely unworkable for the foreseeable future), advances in biotechnology that would render the passengers less susceptible to radiation damage.

      Any astronaut sent to Mars with today's technology would arrive sickly, weak-boned, cognitively impaired and at great risk of cancer.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Elon-gated kit

        Any astronaut sent to Mars with today's technology would arrive sickly, weak-boned, cognitively impaired and at great risk of cancer.This is not true at all... except possibly for the cognitively impaired due to the boredom and psychological problems involved in such a long journey.

        "Artifial" gravity is easy to produce - a rotating element of a space vehicle will do this and is easily within the possibility of todays technology. Having gravity reduces the weak-bones and other health issues experienced by astronauts.

        There are plenty of easy ways of protecting astronauts in flight from solar radiation using todays technology. Unfortunately these do tend to add a lot of mass to a space vehicle which will slow the flight down somewhat. Upon landing on Mars living in caves, whether artificial or not, would protect from most solar radiation.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Elon-gated kit

          > cognitively impaired and at great risk of cancer.This is not true at all...

          It is true. Cosmic rays cause cognitive impairment, according to the best evidence we currently have. Note the link, it's Nature, not a Mickey Mouse journal:

          'Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction'

          https://www.nature.com/articles/srep34774

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: Elon-gated kit

            I meant that it is quite possible using current technology to block cosmic rays and therefore keep astronauts safer.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Elon-gated kit

              > I meant that it is quite possible using current technology to block cosmic rays and therefore keep astronauts safer.

              That's fair, perhaps we were on cross wires. The issue of how much mass to surround travellers to Mars with is economic, not technological. We can use current technology, but lots of it!

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: Elon-gated kit

                The problem here is that mass runs smack into the Tsiolkovsky equation. In a nutshell, it's a necessity to optimize payload since fuel has to be part of that payload as well. Beyond a certain point, diminishing returns kick in, especially for a long-haul trip like to Mars. For it to be practical, you need a lightweight cosmic ray shield.

    4. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Elon-gated kit

      Colonisation of space. That would require something like an army of sentient robots, maybe with a cortical processor developed from human foetal brain tissue and taught in an accelerated fashion by a link to someone fitted with these brain chips. Better make sure that whoever is chosen to teach these cybernetic space-men is mentally stable, otherwise the Hector robot destined for the space station at Saturn 3 might make a bit of a mess. Mind you, my mental stability was severely shaken by the sight of Kirk Doulgas's naked, wrinkled behind as well. That and the thought of a similarly undressed Farrah Fawcett.

  5. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    Optimistically...

    I'm thinking about when I write code - would my thoughts go directly into the program I am writing or perhaps direct to my fingers? How about when designing systems - would thoughts go direct to diagrams or flow charts? Then there is database design and all the relationships.

    Oh the possibilities...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Optimistically...

      "would my thoughts go directly into the program I am writing"

      No, they will go directly to the mothership for processing, and only those thoughts deemed proper and correct will be returned to you for action. But first a word from our sponsor ...

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, they will go directly to the mothership

        plus... only those thoughts that Musk can't monetize will be returned to the originator.

        Part of the SLA that you sign up to before getting the implant will be to give Musk 30% (if not more) of any monies you get from the rejected ideas.

        And you will allow the Musk Company to brick the implant at any time they detect anti Musk thoughts.

        Big Brother Mk 10.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No, they will go directly to the mothership

          Oh no! El Reg has been invaded by the legion of Musk disciples who think that the sun shines out of his know where!

          These make Apple Fanbis seem like rank amateurs.

          Drive anything but a Tesla then you are on their hit list even if it is an EV.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Optimistically...

        No, they will go directly to the mothership for processing, and only those thoughts deemed proper and correct will be returned to you for action

        Oh terrific, just what we need - we've already got newspeak and doublethink and now we're about to get bloody thoughtcrime...

    2. DS999

      Re: Optimistically...

      You're believing his bullshit if you think it will work like that. Instead it will be a choice of typing at 80 wpm or whatever you normally type at, and maybe 8 wpm if you're lucky, with the brain interface. All he can do is pick up electrical signals, it can't read thoughts or even whole words out of your brain. You have to think about each individual letter.

      This is more Musk hype without substance, like his claims for full self driving Teslas before the end of 2016 2020.

      This might be a great thing for people who are paralyzed, assuming it can be faster than the eye tracking they currently use. We are decades at best away from it being faster than a manual process like typing. We will not live to see typing by thought faster than a keyboard for the average person.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Optimistically...

        "All he can do is pick up electrical signals, it can't read thoughts or even whole words out of your brain. You have to think about each individual letter."

        Oh? If letters can be picked out of our brains, wouldn't picking out whole words be a difference of mere degree rather than kind, meaning it's simply a matter of being able to tell them apart through higher sensitivity and better training? After all, wouldn't the ability to discern words be a whole lot different than trying to use this technique with a far eastern language with its large symbol libraries?

        1. DS999

          Re: Optimistically...

          Experimental implemented devices have had to be extensively trained by the wearer before they can do anything, and aren't always 100% correct. Because the signals for concentrating on "A", "B" etc. are not exact and not easy to distinguish. If they have trouble telling 26 different letters apart, how in the hell are they going to tell thousands of words of apart?

          The brain doesn't have a USB port, you can't plug into a specific region and pick out words or thoughts. I doubt that will ever be possible. We barely understand anything about how the brain works, and Musk throwing his carnival barker self into it isn't going to change that.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Optimistically...

            "Experimental implemented devices have had to be extensively trained by the wearer before they can do anything, and aren't always 100% correct."

            And once upon a time, radio signals were just pulses of incoherent noise transmitted through the air. Nascent tech evolves, and what you see today may not even be close to what you may possibly see tomorrow, unless you can throw us some Turing-style disproof to support your claim.

            1. DS999

              Re: Optimistically...

              I'll throw you the decades that science has been working on this. I know people who worship at the altar of Musk thing he can do anything, but his companies have never made any fundamental advances in the state in the art. They've taken the next obvious step.

              The next obvious step for brain interface is making something somewhat standardized (i.e. not a one off) so it can be become something ordinary disabled people can benefit from. There's no way he's going to do something that decades of science has never even hinted at.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: Optimistically...

                I raise you the Tesla and the boom in other electric cars: the closest we've come to having them as a viable long-term means of transportation in...decades, as you've said. A lot of science is like this: much headbanging until there is that one little breakthrough.

                Did you know that until the late 19th century, aluminum was so rare as to be considered a precious metal? Then one little breakthrough--electric smelting--made the metal abundant as bauxite and cheap as chips. Sometimes, one little thing is all it takes...but we still have to find, and no amount of smarts is going to help a literal groping in the unknown.

              2. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Optimistically...

                > I know people who worship at the altar of Musk thing he can do anything, but his companies have never made any fundamental advances in the state in the art. They've taken the next obvious step.

                That's the kind of the point - fundamental scientific advances in and of themselves dont benefit anyone until they become deployed technology. What is often the barrier to deployment? Cost. How does one reduce cost? Scale. Scaling spreads the development and tooling costs across many more customers, so each customer pays less.

                So, Musk himself doesn't discover or invent things, but he has a clear idea of what technology he thinks would be beneficial and then organises companies to reduce the cost barrier to deployment.

                Example problem: batteries are expensive, they would be cheaper if more people bought them, but they won't buy them until they are less expensive. Solution: invest in a sodding massive battery factory, invest in the scale to reduce costs and then reap the increase in demand. That's an organisational solution to an organisational problem.

                So yeah, Musk only takes what engineers see as the next obvious step. However, markets and money don't see things the same way as engineers, which is a barrier to the next obvious step actually being taken. The skill set to get the financiers, the public, the government customers, the engineers et al to all see the next step as obvious, and then organise and finance the engineers to deliver it is not an engineering skill set as such - but it is invaluable none the less.

                So, he uses the technique of talking about crazy far off things such as backing up your memories or going to Mars. Since those are so far off they cannot be destinations and can only be used as directions at this stage. And that is not a problem. I would follow the *direction* of North if I wanted to travel from Mexico to Canada, even though I had no great desire to go to the *destination* that is the North Pole. On my journey I might discover things that cause me to go West instead, or maybe settle down. It would be hubristic of me to assume I know everything about the journey before I take it. Never the less, if I ever do reach Canada I could learn more about the North Pole than I ever could in Mexico.

                All navigators, and the Marquis de Sade, know that directions are often expressed in terms of far-off and unreachable destinations.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Optimistically...

      > How about when designing systems - would thoughts go direct to diagrams or flow charts?

      I'm thinking of why 'thinking' a flow chart into existence would be preferable to drawing it manually... where are the bottlenecks? One bottleneck is the speed at which you can move your hands, one bottleneck might be the bandwidth between your brain and arm muscles. Written language is linear, one word at a time, so I'm thinking a musician's experience might be worth thinking about... each hand playing a different part of the music.

      Or a composer's experience - so many composer's claim to have the music fully formed in their heads that I believe them. But they must then write out the part for each instrument in the orchestra individually.

      I'm a CAD user, and whilst using a 2D interface to design 3D objects doesn't bother me, I've never been great at learning keyboard shortcuts. Switching tools slows me down a lot, hunting for a specific icon in the tool palette. Yeah, I can customise the UI, but then I need to remember where I put it!

      I guess I'm groping towards the idea that if I'm proficient and fluent at something, it almost feels as if I'm 'thinking' it into being.

      UI design here is a factor - even pen and paper is part of a User Interface in its broadest sense. Your flowchart drafting could be made faster if you learnt shorthand, for example.

      Sorry, I'm meandering here. :)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Optimistically...

        "I guess I'm groping towards the idea that if I'm proficient and fluent at something, it almost feels as if I'm 'thinking' it into being."

        Right up until you get distracted. e.g. something you saw on TV last night, what might be for tonight's dinners, that pretty woman (or man) who just walked past. Computers have enough trouble doing speech recognition, let alone recognise multiple unrelated words all in the same voice. Very few people can concentrate 100% on something for more than a few seconds without any distraction.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Optimistically...

          > Right up until you get distracted. e.g. something you saw on TV last night, what might be for tonight's dinners, that pretty woman (or man) who just walked past

          It is lovely to do things that preclude distraction... I am more easily distracted when I am writing up a report than I am if I am hurtling through the woods on my mountain bike. Heck, I've found myself blissfully free of any concious thought when working with my hands to repack the wheel bearings of my bike, my brain and fingers together finding the correct but tightness - my mind nowhere to be found.

          So, is it a UI problem? Tony Stark's fictional workshop blurs the lines between CAD data and real objects... does it aid the engineer to be working with their whole body and not just their eyes and hands?

    4. ColinPa

      Re: Optimistically...

      I can see the code

      for (int i = 1;i < 100:i++){

      man I want some coffee

      that was an interesting appeal for money on the radio

      transfer $100 to account 1234678 ...

      it is hot in here

      printf(..)

      }

    5. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Optimistically...

      > Oh the possibilities...

      Actually it will be just used to stream ads directly into your brain...

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: stream ads directly into your brain...

        shortly followed by Politically correct thoughts.

        Big Brother Mk 20 == Total Mind Control of the Population. All hail Musk the Messiah.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: stream ads directly into your brain...

          Or...could be Buy Bombs.

          (Closest thing to a Spider Jerusalem icon this site offers.)

  6. mevets

    Shiny happy neurons everywhere...

    If you spend time working with the predictive engine people on a project, you gain a lot of insight into the limitations that multiplying large arrays can offer those seeking quasi intelligent results.

    A speaker at GopherCon 18, talked about a system that you jammed go programs into, and it got upset if your source was unusual.

    He gracioiusly showed the early efforts, where they fed the array a bunch of good go programs; then fed it new programs. The prediction engine became upset, because the copyrights in the comments didn't match those of good programs.

    Try 2, feed the output of the a lexical analyzer into the prediction engine; better, but unless you follow Pike/Cox naming convention, you are a radical outlier, thus suspect.

    Eventually, feeding the abstract syntax trees yielded more useful results; possibly an automated code reviewer, that doesn't judge, just states : "that is unusual".

    If not for Colorado's lenient drug laws, I might be able to recall the speakers name, and more details of the talk. He may have spoken French, but I was kinda high.

    At any rate, it did illuminate the possible value of unconstrained search in a restricted domain, in a way that unregulated markieting bullshit from companies like TESLA never do.

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

    How long until some bright spark figures out how to put thoughts and perceptions into an animal's brain? And what happens to freedom of thought and individual identity when that starts getting rolled out to people?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

      There exist a bacterium in some rats that causes them to less afraid of open spaces. They are more likely to be disemboweled by cats, spreading the bacterium to other rats.

      There is a fungus that infects ants and moves to their nervous system, causing them to climb to the top of a plant so as to better spread the fungal spores.

      Today, freedom of thought can be negatively affected by many things, society, culture, drugs... ...but also by traumatic brain injuries, degenerative diseases, brain tumours. Giving doctors more tools to *restore* freedom of thought is no bad thing.

      You could ask "what if someone hacked my friend's cochlear implant (or a more common hearing aid, for that matter) to make her 'hear' things that I didn't say?"

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

        > by traumatic brain injuries, degenerative diseases, brain tumours

        You forgot Facebook and Twitter... :-p

        .

        > Giving doctors more tools to *restore* freedom of thought

        Sorry to rain on your parade, but chances are it will mostly be used by spin doctors to "restore" opinions to what they should be.

        Since the stone age people have sought to reliably influence other people for their own profit. Which means that if this technology indeed manages one day to read/write in our memory and mood system, "free will" will become a mere joke.

        The brain makes us what we are, and our respective memories (also known as "upbringing" and "experience") are what makes each individual unique. If you change those, you change the individual.

        While the medical uses of this technology are obvious and utterly beneficial, let's just hope the memory coding is way beyond our capacity to efficient interface with.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

          > You forgot Facebook and Twitter...

          They fall under 'society and culture', but yeah, for sure.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

            > They fall under 'society and culture'

            Now you really depressed me...

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

        "You could ask "what if someone hacked my friend's cochlear implant (or a more common hearing aid, for that matter) to make her 'hear' things that I didn't say?""

        It's a lot easier to just hack the existing Ear v1.0. Highly-focused sound was developed a couple decades back that enables a sound to only be heard in a very tight area, dispersing rapidly away from it.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: OK, so we can extract thoughts or perceptions from an animal...

          > hacked my friend's cochlear implant

          Even if your friend is some big "influencer" it would be kind of pointless. Why bother?

          What is much more interesting is hacking the whole population, which will be possible if this system allows to gain advantages (like physical & mental improvements) without too many drawbacks (like looking like Frankenstein's monster). It will eventually become a must-have (think smartphones) to everyone except a few Luddites.

          Also, hacking cochlear implants (let's assume everybody had one), would only allow you to whisper in the ear of people, which is kind of conspicuous. Hacking a direct interface to the brain is much more discreet and would allow you to directly attack the basis of decision-making: "I clearly remember that politician raping that baby before eating it alive! I know it's true!"

  8. Pete 2

    Oink!

    > "Give them some food and some friends and they're happy. Pigs are quite similar to people."

    Apart from the being happy part.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Oink!

      So true. Most people are nowhere near as happy as my pigs.

      Happy hogs are tasty hogs.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Poncey McPonceface
          Devil

          Re: Oink!

          “A cyber stalker is a sick and lonely coward individual who abuses the anonymity of the internet as his only possibility to molest another person. This kind of breed uses all kinds of internet services like talk forums or blogs for chasing his victims. The victims are mostly only accidental and get attacked for no given reason.”

          https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cyberstalker

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Oink!

          No more Bacon (real or veggie/vegan) Butties for you!

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Oink!

        Looks as though you have a fan/stalker Jake.

        The basic idea for this tech goes back to the cold war days when both the Russians and the US and probably others played with the idea of mind reading/ control.

        Since then quite a lot of work has been done on finding various ways to create a mind/ machine interface for both military, industrial and disabled applications.

        Prosthetics have been a focus in some places and obviously weapons would be a focus for some but in spite of the clear opportunities for misuse the tech does hold promise for those who find the notion of transhumanism appealing and this is just a baby step.

        As Jake points out, once you are connected, privacy and self determination may be a challenge, imagine being hard wired to FB or Amazon never mind any of our beneficient rulers.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Oink!

          MK-Ultra would be the program you're speaking of:

          The basic idea for this tech goes back to the cold war days when both the Russians and the US and probably others played with the idea of mind reading/ control.

        2. ThatOne Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Oink!

          > imagine being hard wired to FB or Amazon

          And indeed you will - Google/Amazon/FB will offer you the neuronal interface for free, an offer you will gladly take to be able to enjoy those new mind sex tapes ("Be part of the action!").

          And then you will be analyzed, prepared and sold as part of a human botnet: "I need 800000 voters in region X", "I need a 12% increase in sales before the shareholder meeting next month", and so on.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Oink!

          "Looks as though you have a fan/stalker Jake."

          I suppose with a bit of effort we could go back and find some numpty post, probably about IR35, that Jake picked up on and work out who it is.

          Still, it makes a change from just going round downvoting every post which some of them do.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Well, unlike upvoting, which is a sign of agreement (like applause), downvoting is just gratuitous revenge. Why? Agreement doesn't need any explanation, while disagreement normally calls for one: Which specific point do you disagree with, and what is actually your own opinion on that point?

            Simply downvoting is like giving somebody the finger from the relative security of your car, in this case with the added perk of total anonymity: Gratuitous and cowardly. If you have something to say, please do so.

            As for Jake, he is often a little too outspoken and abrupt (like me, actually), which apparently has pushed some fragile ego over the limit. Oh well, Internet fights... *rolls eyes*

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: FireHog

      Skaite pier rakete!!! - apologies to Clint Eastwood

    2. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: FireHog

      FireHog never really took off[0] ... Here's a list of current CalFire aircraft ... many (most?) of which I've seen working active wildland fires here in Northern California in the last couple weeks.

      [0] Of course it was intended, comrad ... this is ElReg. ваше здоровье!

  10. Magani
    Happy

    So pigs are like people?

    Thoughts extracted from pigs: Food, sex, sleep, repeat

    Thoughts from humans: about the same?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: So pigs are like people?

      > Thoughts extracted from pigs: Food, sex, sleep, repeat

      Actually that is valid for about any animal out there, including of course humans. Pigs are in no way special (they just taste better).

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: So pigs are like people?

      That doesn't sound right to me. All those cat videos on the internet show there must be more to it. They can't all be covered by the food category. Hmmmm ?

  11. Richard Boyce

    Not just Bill Gates

    Conspiracy theorists are going to love this.

  12. Paul Herber Silver badge

    ' walked around, ate things, broke wind, and did other things pigs do, '

    That's just the reassurance to men that it covers most of our basic needs. Most.

  13. M7S
    Alien

    If the cap fits....

    ..you'll never question why Auntie cancelled The Tripods after two seasons.

    They knew.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "telepathic summoning of Tesla cars"

    Road hog.

  15. joe bixflics

    Where were the usual questions regarding the danger of someone hacking into your head and making you murder someone?

  16. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    ...implanted a mind-reading gadget in a live pig's brain.

    "Hmm, what does that waveform mean?"

    "Probably 'Oink'."

    "How about that one?"

    "I'm guessing at 'Oink'."

    "That looks interesting. I wonder what that means?"

    "I'll take a wild stab in the dark and go for 'Oink'."

  17. AndrueC Silver badge
    Alert

    Is this how Dollhouse starts?

    I hope not. That proposed a rather grim future :(

  18. Vaughtex

    defrag

    If it will do a defrag on what's there already and empty the trash, where do I sign?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: defrag

      Oh, the Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind :)

  19. The Bloke next door

    Ethics?

    Are there any?

  20. mihares
    WTF?

    So after putting a humongous battery in a humongous car, badly naming a cruise control so that a few science fiction fans could die in it, barely replicating what the Russians have been doing since the ‘60, promising to civilise Mars (after a nuclear holocaust) last year, polluting space, proposing an implausible human pneumatic post, he comes around with a miniaturised EEG for flatulent pigs?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Ok so some of your points have merit. But this:

      barely replicating what the Russians have been doing since the ‘60s

      Is complete bullshit.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Alister is correct; your claim about the Russians is bollocks. Everybody knows that the first reusable rocket to land vertically was created by Professor Calculus on behalf of the Syldavian government in 1953. The event was witnessed by the journalist Tintin.

        [Fun fact: professor Calculus and Captain Jean-Luc Piccard were both based on the same Swiss investment for and explorer, Auguste Piccard, known for high altitude helium balloon flights and making the bathysphere. ]

  21. osakajin Bronze badge

    "The future's going to be weird," Musk said"

    The present is weird enough for me already thank you.

  22. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Musk disappoints

    Back in 2013 Musk stated he wanted to make the James Bond Lotus Esprit submarine work as is it is depicted in the film - i.e, a car with wheels that converts to a submarine upon entering the water. The actual Esprit prop he bought does work as a submarine, but it requires the operator to wear scuba gear and it doesn't work as a car - timing involving several working Esprits and Esprit body shells to depict a car turning into a submarine and back again.

    It's 2020 and we're still waiting!

    Still, it's clear that he hadn't completely forgotten about his Lotus - he said the Esprit was a strong influence upon the shape the Tesla Cybertruck, as if that wasn't obvious. Now, I've seen how other Lotus Cars in James Bond films behave - they explode if someone tries to break into one by smashing a window. Such an effective (if terminal) theft-deterrence device was conspicuously absent during Musk's Cybertruck demonstration, but I guess this oversight can be fixed by the time Cybertrucks are released for sale.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Musk disappoints

      1) We are still waiting for his famed Autopilot to drive coast-to-coast across the USA on its own. He promised it would happen in (from memory)2017.

      2) The Roadster 2 was revealled in 2016 where is it?

      3) The Tesla Semi was revealled at the same time. All we've seen are the two protypes.

      He promises the earth and delivers very little.

      Don't even get me started on the pain job on my Model 3. It is crap and harks back to the bad old days of Lonbridge's finest. Mine is going in for a total respray as I'm sick of finding rust spots after only 13 months.

      The thing also collects muck from the road in an underbody panel. I'm talking about kilos of the stuff in just a few months.

      Musk is just a naughty boy and not the Messiah.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very "Ghost In The Shell"....

    I kind of like the idea of wet-ware, but I wouldn't be so sure if it was networked (as someone else mused). Too much opportunity to be hacked and you wouldn't necessarily know it.

    Even worse would be upgrades. Imagine your sight switching to "Your link is updating... please wait.". Or a blue screen of death (maybe quite literally)!

    1. ClockworkOwl
      Gimp

      On the other hand, a screen saver could be quite useful in all sorts of social situations...

      Patient #0001>

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I'd be more concerned about any defects in the battery nanufacture. I'd certainly be sure to wear a sun hat on hot days!

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Coat

        And better check your temperature! A good fever and you could go all Note 7!

  24. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The rudest thing possible.

    Go stick your head in a pig!

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The rudest thing possible.

      There is alwaysallegedly...

      https://www.vox.com/2015/9/21/9365507/piggate-david-cameron-piers-galverston

  25. TRT Silver badge

    He has his eyes on the stars...

    So he's started with the pig. Next the Ox, Tiger, Dog, Snake, Monkey etc.

    Each of the 12 animals that visited Buddha will get this treatment.

    Their brains will be interfaced to robotic bodies and then put in charge of an army of robots. Soon they will command the Munificent Army of Peking. At least until it all goes wrong and they turn into homicidal homunculi.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: He has his eyes on the stars... & almost caused World War VI,

      This is obviously the prototype for Mr Sin.

  26. xyz

    In brain ads...

    24 hours a day.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: In brain ads...

      Obviously your sleep is the best time for ads ("Sponsored Dreams™").

      Unlike when driving or performing heart surgery, you can't possibly argue they'd distract you from something more important.

  27. T. F. M. Reader

    "spoken words have a very slow data rate"

    Written (or typed) words have an even slower data rate. I suspect this is on purpose, Mr. Musk: this allows the speaker or writer think through the best combination of words to convey the important/interesting thoughts. This improves information transfer rate, which is a lot more important than raw data rate - a lot of noise does no good to anyone.

    I am not sure what can be made of the data rate of tweeted words, though. Regardless of who is tweeting.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "spoken words have a very slow data rate"

      Most people form sentences in their minds faster than they can speak, type or write them down. There are of course hangovers when. I can't find the... thingies. I'm... er... looking. for.

      And conversely, there are times when inspiration strikes and words fly out. It's often better to just record them when the metaphorical iron is hot, and review and edit later.

  28. Mike 137 Silver badge

    A giant leap for musk-kind?

    "You could store your memory as a backup and restore the memories or download them into a new body or a robot body. ..."

    The chip currently sends out a signal when the pig smells something (and possibly, by comparison with cerebral evoked potentials, when it wriggles its snout). I suggest there's a wee bit of work needed to verify the feasibility of the stated ambition.

    But in any case, why would you want to? The brain is fundamentally a body controller, and memories are intimately tied to that. They would be meaningless in the absence of the body they were created in.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: A giant leap for musk-kind?

      > memories are intimately tied to that. They would be meaningless in the absence of the body they were created in

      Why, intelligence, knowledge and experience are body-independent. I think Stephen Hawking is a good example: Being a theoretical physicist, his failing body didn't affect his professional capacities; It would of course had been very different had he been a concert violinist or a quarterback.

      While motor skills and such are tied to local muscle memory, abstract know-how is body-independent. Transplanted to a new body you wouldn't be able to play the violin anymore, but you would still know how it's supposed to be done.

  29. Pirate Dave
    Terminator

    I'm old

    I admit, I'm old and un-hip, but if there's ever been a good time for a Terminator to come back in time and destroy an embryonic new technology, this seems to be that time. There could be great applications helping with people with medical problems, but that sure as hell doesn't seem to be the audience Muck is targeting with this. No, this is all about making rich techies even richer by selling frivolous tat, while at the same time, invading our last sanctum of peace. It needs to go into the furnace of molten metal. And get the fuck off my lawn!

  30. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  31. spold Silver badge

    Isn't technology wonderful....

    I can look forward to a mind-meld with a bacon sandwich

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