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What you need to know about Elon Musk’s plan to merge man and machine

From reusable rockets and electric cars to underground tunnels for rapid transit, the iconoclastic entrepreneur Elon Musk has always generated global attention with his ideas.

Musk, perhaps the world’s most flamboyant tech name since Steve Jobs, has done it again. The brain-computer interface has become a buzz phrase after Musk announced his ambition of linking brains directly to machines to prevent what he sees as an “existential threat” if artificial intelligence (AI) surpasses human intelligence.

If humans cannot have a symbiosis with AI, he declared, we are sure to be left behind. His goal is to have humans and machine intelligence work together via a new type of brain-computer interface.

Here we sort the reality from the hype and tell you what you need to know about the technology.

1. WHAT IS A BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE? 

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), also known as brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), are systems that translate a user’s brain activity into messages or commands for interactive applications. To put it simply, BCIs enable users to control various machines by using nothing else but brain activity.

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