Musk’s newest startup is venturing into a series of hard problems

Musk’s newest startup is venturing into a series of hard problems

Enlarge / Elon Musk in Idaho in 2015. (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tonight, Elon Musk has scheduled an event where he intends to unveil his plans for Neuralink, a startup company he announced back in 2017, then went silent on. If you go to the Neuralink website now, all you’ll find is a vague description of its goal to develop an “ultra-high-bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” These interfaces have been under development for a while, typically under the monicker of brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs. And, while there have been some notable successes in the academic-research world, there’s a notable lack of products on the market.

The slow progress comes, in part, because a successful BCI has to tackle multiple hard problems and, in part, because the regulatory and market conditions are challenging. Ahead of tonight’s announcement, we’ll take a look at all

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Rat brains provide even more evidence our brains operate near tipping point

Rat brains provide even more evidence our brains operate near tipping point

Enlarge / A real human brain suspended in liquid within a human silhouette carved into acrylic, on display at the Bristol Science Centre in England. New research finds more evidence that the brain operates near a critical point. (credit: Ben Birchall/PA Images/Getty Images)

The human brain doesn’t seem like it would have much in common with how water freezes into ice or heats up into a gas. But over the last decade, evidence has been mounting that the brain as a system functions much like water approaching the critical point of a phase transition. Now a team of Brazilian scientists has found additional evidence in rat brains that this might indeed be the case. The team described its findings in a recent paper in Physical Review Letters.

The notion of so-called “self-organized criticality” dates back to a landmark paper in 1987, when the late Danish physicist

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