Elon Musk Said His AI Brain Chips Company Could 'Solve' Autism and Schizophrenia

Musk said he believes his neural AI technology company Neuralink will "solve a lot of brain-related diseases," naming autism and schizophrenia as examples. Autism is not a disease.

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Elon Musk Said His AI Brain Chips Company Could 'Solve' Autism and Schizophrenia
Image credit: Lex Fridman
2 min read
This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Elon Musk believes his neural technology company Neuralink will be able to "solve" schizophrenia and autism.

Speaking on the Artificial Intelligence podcast with Lex Fridman, published Tuesday, Musk was asked what he thinks are the most exciting impacts he foresees for his company Neuralink. Neuralink's goal is to develop an AI-enabled chip that could be implanted in a person's brain, where it would be able to both record brain activity and potentially stimulate it.

"So Neuralink, I think at first will solve a lot of brain-related diseases. So could be anything from like autism, schizophrenia, memory loss — like everyone experiences memory loss at certain points in age. Parents can't remember their kids' names and that kind of thing," replied Musk.

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It was not clear what Musk meant by "solving" autism, which is not a disease but a developmental disability.

"Autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity," according to the UK National Autistic Society. The World Health Organisation characterizes schizophrenia as a "severe mental disorder."

Related: The 5-Hour Rule Used by Bill Gates, Jack Ma and Elon Musk

Musk founded Neuralink in 2016, and for the first few years of its existence, the company was relatively secretive.

This year the company has been more vocal: it published a white paper in July about its design for a brain chip, and Elon Musk excitedly announced that the company had begun animal testing on monkeys.

Musk has previously said that the technology could be used to treat neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. He also told Fridman that it could be used to solve "critical damage to the brain or the spinal cord." But his eventual goal is to merge human consciousness with AI.

Related: Are Elon Musk's Warnings About AI Manipulating Social Media Coming True?

"It's [Neuralink] intended to address the existential risk associated with digital superintelligence. We will not be able to be smarter than a digital supercomputer, so therefore if you cannot beat 'em, join 'em," Musk told Fridman.

You can listen to Lex Fridman's entire interview with Elon Musk here.

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