A man with a brain implant that allows him to control computers via mental signals says he is ready to challenge Elon Musk’s neuroscience company Neuralink in a head-to-head game of Pong—with a monkey.

Neuralink is developing advanced wireless brain implants so humans can connect directly to computer networks. In April, researchers working with the company showed off videos of a rhesus monkey named Pager who can play the classic paddle game using thought signals. The company’s monkey MindPong video won raves from Musk acolytes, who acclaimed it as the billionaire’s latest mind-blowing deed.

“As soon as I saw it I said, ‘I wonder if I could beat that monkey,’” says Nathan Copeland, who six years ago received a different type of implant that he regularly uses to play video games.  

Copeland was hurt in car accident and now can’t walk or move his fingers. He does retain movement in his shoulder, and he can operate a computer and trackpad by typing with the side of his fist. That means he’s not totally reliant on his brain interface. “I do enjoy playing with my mind, though,” he says.

Copeland says he is now ready to challenge the monkey to the first “interspecies battle” in Pong.

“We are preparing and training already,” says Copeland, who played his first games of thought Pong this week.

Game on!

A man vs. monkey mind match would do little to advance scientific understanding. What it would underscore is the promise of brain-machine interfaces to give severely paralyzed people freer access to computers and the internet for whatever purposes they need or want.

The Pong match could be held online and broadcast on Twitch, the streaming service for gamers, where Copeland has a profile and daydreams of becoming a star with thousands of followers.

Neuralink’s initial goal for its implants, as explained in a blog post last month, is “to give people with paralysis their digital freedom back” by letting them “communicate more easily via text, to follow their curiosity on the web, to express their creativity through photography and art, and, yes, to play video games.”

Copeland already uses mental commands to play video games including Sega classics like Sonic the Hedgehog. He admits it was a “tough” question whether to challenge Musk’s monkey or not. “I could get my ass beat,” he says. “But yeah, I would play.”

Copeland issued the challenge in an interview and on today’s episode of the national public radio program Science Friday, where he appeared to discuss brain interfaces.

Neuralink, a secretive company established by Musk in 2016, did not respond to our attempts to relay the Pong challenge.

Nathan Copeland using a

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By: Antonio Regalado
Title: A paralyzed man is challenging Neuralink’s monkey to a match of mind Pong
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/05/14/1024907/musk-neuralink-man-monkey-mindpong-challenge-video-game/
Published Date: Fri, 14 May 2021 13:48:49 +0000

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