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Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for E3/Entertainment Software Association

Elon Musk said Tuesday night his company Neuralink "aspirationally" hopes to start trials next year on directly connecting people's brains to computers.

Details: Musk said at the live-streamed San Francisco event that the team had begun testing the brain-reading "threads" on animals. "A monkey has been able to control the computer with his brain," he said. A key goal of the team is to one day effectively treat brain disorders with a chip.

"All animal procedures were performed in accordance with the National Research Council’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and were approved by the Neuralink Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee."

The big picture: Neuralink has devised electrodes to be embedded in the brain using tiny insulated "threads" that are much smaller than a human hair to pass through tissue and withstand degradation, per The Verge. For the time being, the company must use surgeons to drill holes through the skull to implant the threads, the New York Times notes.

What's next? Musk said he hoped to find a way for the brain to "merge" with artificial intelligence, most likely through tiny wireless chips implanted in the brain using a "sewing machine-like" robot, with a goal of securing "humanity's future as a civilization relative to AI."

"This is going to sound pretty weird, but ultimately, we will achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence. This is not a mandatory thing. This is a thing you can choose to have if you want. This is something that I think will be really important on a civilization-level scale."

The bottom line: Although Musk said the team isn't far off from implanting prototypes, it will take a "long time" for Neuralink to achieve its goals, he acknowledged, noting that getting federal approval for the neural implants would be difficult.

Go deeper: Elon Musk: Humans must merge with machines

Go deeper

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.