In Iain M Banks’ series of science fiction novels about a future society called the Culture, its members wear “neural laces”. Grown from a seed implanted in the brain at birth, these human-machine interfaces link to artificial intelligence and can access ‘“dataverses” of information. They can take a copy of the brain at death, upload it to a cloud and allow the wearer’s consciousness to survive.

Elon Musk, the headline-grabbing billionaire and longtime fan of Banks’ work, was inspired by these laces when he came up with the idea for Neuralink, a medical research company exploring the frontiers of bioelectronics. In a presentation, Musk said he hoped to begin trials of the company’s implants, intended to allow computer-to-brain communication, by the end of 2019.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now