China just revealed plans to take on Elon Musk's Neuralink

  • China disclosed its bold ambitions to develop its own brain-computer products by 2025.

  • The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published its plans in a document Monday.

  • It details how it hopes to create "iconic products" and achieve breakthroughs in hundreds of technologies.

China has bold ambitions to develop its own brain-computer products by 2025.

Its Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) published a policy document Monday that discloses its big plans to push hard on "cutting-edge technologies."

The MIIT said it wants to achieve breakthroughs in hundreds of technologies by creating "iconic products" by 2025, and it includes making brain-computer interfaces like Elon Musk's Neuralink implant.

According to a translation of the document, the MIIT said it wants to "make breakthroughs in key technologies and core devices such as brain-computer fusion, brain-like chips, and brain computing neural models, develop a number of easy-to-use and safe brain-computer interface products, and encourage the exploration of applications in typical fields such as medical rehabilitation, driverless driving, and virtual reality."

As part of its big push for tech advancement, China also wants to "accelerate breakthroughs in technologies such as GPU chips," and strengthen the research and development of quantum computers. It hopes to be a global leader in these areas by 2027.

Meanwhile, Neuralink has been making headway. Musk said in an X post on Monday that Neuralink's first human patient received their brain implant after it secured permission from the FDA in May 2023 to run a human trial.

China has been actively working on creating brain-computer interface devices in recent years, including ones that can rival Neuralink.

A chip to power brain-computer interfaces called "Brain Talker" was unveiled in 2019, which was developed by Tianjin University in collaboration with the state-owned China Electronics Corporation, the university said in a press release at the time.

The Chinese government also provided funding for a brain-machine interface research lab in Tianjin last year, which has over 60 scientists working there, South China Morning Post reported.

Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing developed a device that is inserted in a person's inner ear and connects their brain to a computer, the Independent reported last year.

The SprialE brain-computer interface can be inserted without the need for surgery as it has a spiral design, allowing it to be slid in without an invasive method, the report says. 

The tech policy document outlining its ambitions comes after the MIIT published a road map in November of its plans to mass-produce humanoid robots by 2025.

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