Sci Fi or Sci fact: Will Neural Implants Replace VR Headsets?
Science fiction is a genre of unlimited imagination, but it’s not fantasy. The great Sci-Fi writers of the twentieth century introduced us to strange new worlds and unbelievable technologies. Those weren’t made up out of thin air. Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, and Roddenberry did their research. Most of those ideas were based in real scientific principles.
What was once science fiction has become science fact. Great authors of days gone by are sometimes credited with shaping the development of new technology, yet the lessons they taught us are easily forgotten. It’s time to revisit them. Neural implants, one of the more controversial topics during the golden age of sci-fi, are in the news this week.
Elon Musk Claims Neuralink will Replace VR Headsets
With great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, Elon Musk does not adhere to that credence. His latest pronouncement that “Neuralink will replace VR headsets” is self-serving propaganda issued without a care for potential consequences. The science of neural implants is too new and his “pig presentation” was nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Neuralink is not a public company. I’d invest in them if they were, for the medical implications of the tech, not gamer fantasies. As for Elon Musk, Tesla stock dropped $300 a share in November after his stock sell-off announcement. Motor Trend shut him out in both the car and truck categories this year. Like them, I put my money on Rivian (RIVN) and Lucid (LCID).
Despite overwhelming resources and a global public platform for promotion, Musk could not push Neuralink past the finish line in the race for first FDA approval. That honor went to Synchron. Their brain-computer interface device was approved for human trials in July. Unfortunately, they are also not a public company.
On December 23rd, 2021, Phillip O’Keefe, a 62-year-old afflicted with ALS, used Synchron’s “Stentrode” neural implant to send the first ever thought-generated message on social media. Mark the date. The technology works. We’re years away from mass adoption, but now is the time to start having a conversation about its limits. Stay tuned for more on that.
Amouranth Joins Metaverse Playboy Mansion
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about Elon Musk’s opinions. His metaverse acquired a major partner in early December when Playboy announced they’d be building a virtual “Playboy Mansion” and a service called “Centerfold” that will compete with Only Fans. Cardi B threw her weight behind it early. Now, Twitch icon Amouranth has joined the party.
Like it or not, sex sells. Playboy Group Inc (PLBY) hasn’t performed well in December, but they are up 140% on the year. This deal to develop a virtual property with Meta Platforms (FB), could be the “virtual ED med” they need to exceed expectations in 2022. The Twitch connection with Amouranth could give Amazon (AMZN) a boost too, as if they need it.
Using neural implants to live full-time in virtual reality is still science fiction. The tools are there, but don’t expect to have access to them any time soon. Elon Musk is a great showman, not a reliable source. Mark Zuckerberg knows how to build what the masses want and he’s doing it right now. In the short-term, he’ll dominate the space.