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Neuralink Is Not What People Think It Is, It Can Help People With Serious Brain Injuries – Elon Musk on the Joe Rogan Experience

Joe Rogan recently interviewed Elon Musk as part of his podcast named “Joe Rogan Experience”. The interview is a three-and-a-half-hour long discussion on various topics, right from alien life to the infamous Neuralink, which is on his ‘bucket list’ of sorts. He gets candid on various topics, busts a few myths related to technology in today’s age, and more.

Getting A Little Philosophical

Continuing the talk about alien life, Musk quotes Douglas Adams. The English author said that the universe is not the real question. In fact, it is the answer to most of life’s questions. We just need to figure out what questions to ask in order to better understand the universe. Musk agrees with him. According to him, if we are to understand the universe, we need to constantly think about how we can ask questions from different perspectives.

Joe proceeded to ask him what the meaning of life is. Musk replied that it is not a very simple question to answer. However, if you were to put it in one sentence, it is to understand the universe, which will help you figure out the meaning of life.

Tesla Model S and Roadster Updates

The topic of the Roadster arose from the discussion about launching it aboard the Falcon Heavy test flight. The idea was to have a dummy load to see if the rocket can launch a satellite into the orbit of either the Earth or Mars. And someone came up with the idea of using a Roadster as the dummy load, and they went ahead with it.

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Tesla Roadster

Joe then asked Musk about the possible launch timeline for the new Roadster. Musk replied that the exact timeline isn’t decided yet. However, he expects the engineers at Tesla to complete the design by the end of this year. Post that, they will unveil it to the public, and move to production next year. The four-door version of the Roadster is expected to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 kph) in around 1.9 seconds.

He then joked with Joe about bringing some rocket technology to the Roadster (although you can never be sure if he’s joking or not). This would include hovering capabilities at a height of around 6 feet. He also talked about adding small “kid seats” at the back or maybe remove the back row entirely. Small thrusters will replace them, adding to the performance capabilities of the Roadster.

Of course, the talks about sub-two-second acceleration timings also brought up the question about the new Model S. Musk said the Plaid version of the Model S will have an acceleration timing of under two seconds. They even tested it on the track and got a constant timing of around 1.96 seconds. It can complete a quarter-mile in less than 9 seconds and complete a lap around the Nurburgring in Germany in under 7 minutes. That is a record which no production vehicle has set till today.

Cybertruck – Launch Updates, Philosophy and Production

Tesla will produce the Cybertruck exclusively at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas in the beginning. The reason for choosing Austin as the location for the Gigafactory is its similarities in culture with California. Musk says he literally asked employees at the Fremont factory where they would like the next production plant in America. Austin was the most popular choice among all employees, and thus, they selected it as the location.

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The Austin Gigafactory is located a few miles from the Austin airport and is visible from the highway. Musk mentioned that he will arrange tours for civilians to see the factory from inside in the future. Some customers could also receive their Cybertruck deliveries right off the factory floor here.

Talking about the Cybertruck, Musk mentioned that Tesla has reduced the overall dimensions from the launch prototype by around 3%. Many people had concerns regarding its size, as to how it will fit into standard American garages. But the reduction in size was also done considering the size of the tunnels in the Loop systems of The Boring Company. This means that Musk intends to use the Cybertrucks in the Loop and Hyperloop systems in the future as well.

Tesla Cybertruck

The philosophy behind Cybertruck’s design was simple – they wanted a pick-up truck, but futuristic. Furthermore, a pick-up truck symbolizes toughness, which inspired them to make it bulletproof, and not easily breakable. Musk said that standing next to a Cybertruck is like experiencing CGI in real life.

Limited production of the Cybertruck will start at the end of 2021, and volume production is set for 2022. The standard variant will have around 300 miles (483 km).

Starlink – A Technology for the Future of Internet Services

SpaceX is developing an internet system using Starlink, which is a satellite internet constellation. Currently, there are 36 satellites orbiting the Earth which are part of Starlink. While there have been some controversies related to the use of Starlink, Musk rubbished these claims, saying that the professionals know that it will be effective.

Starlink

In layman’s terms, Musk said that every Starlink satellite will emit a beam of internet waves. This beam can be around 10 miles in diameter and will provide high-speed internet connection. The system aims for a low latency connection and will have global coverage. It will be extremely effective in places with low to medium population density. For high-density urban places, 5G network will still be better, reckons Musk. Eventually, Starlink aims to reach internet speeds that will deal in gigabytes of data per second.

Neuralink

While Musk was addressing people’s concerns about 5G network, Joe asked him if an explanation coming from him is valid, considering that Musk intends to embed ultra-high bandwidth chips inside the human brain. Many people have reservations about this kind of technology, famously known as Neuralink.

Neuralink

Musk, however, assured that Neuralink will develop these human-computer interface chips from a medical perspective. People suffering from serious brain injuries, for example, quadriplegic patients will be the first volunteers of this process. The plan is to try and allow the brain of these patients to function normally. You can wirelessly charge these chips, the way you do with your smartwatches. The chip can access various centres of your brain and allow or improve its functionalities.

Of course, where there’s software, there is a risk of hacking. While Musk mentioned that there will be software locks on these chips, software security nowadays is a big concern. That brought Musk to a new set of questions regarding data – is your data safe, is the privacy you’re being assured of real, and so on. These discussions will be covered in the next article.

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Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.

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