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Neuralink Recipient Plays Civilization Instead of Interacting with Civilization

The only thing nerdier than getting a computer chip implanted in your brain is using it to play a strategy video game.

By Elon Altman · April 7, 2024

How the Neuralink recipient views himself. urenigma/Creative Commons

Disclaimer: While this article is plugged into neurological facts, it does contain some glitches of satire.

What would you do if you had the power of a computer implanted in your brain? World domination? Beat the stock market? Impress 5th graders by multiplying any two numbers together? Well, the first recipient of Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain implant has decided to use his super ability to play a video game from 2016.

The patient, 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, is a person with quadriplegia who lost all function below his shoulders after a driving accident. After recovering from the implant surgery, the first thing Noland did was stay up all night playing the empire-building strategy game, Civilization 6. Noland did not initially plan to play through the night, but he said it was hard to sleep with a loud computer exhaust fan coming out the side of his head.

Neuralink was founded by Elon Musk to help paralyzed people gain more control over their lives. It turns out, it can also be used to control the lives of tiny soldiers fighting against hordes of Vikings and Mongols. So how does Neuralink work? Well, it’s really complicated. The chip in the brain gives a person the ability to control a computer cursor just by thinking about it. Actually, that wasn’t very complicated at all. Yes, it essentially turns your head into a wireless mouse.

Neuralink founder Elon Musk, imagining a future where he can send a crazy tweet just by thinking it.  Duncan.Hull/Wikimedia Commons

In a video released by Neuralink, Arbaugh demonstrated how he can turn off music with his mind. Unfortunately, he can’t turn off music in his mind, so he still has to deal with that Baby Shark song that’s been stuck in his head for the last 4 years.

"It's like using the force."
Noland Arbaugh, going a little overboard describing how using his mind to play online video games is similar to the mysterious telekinetic Jedi powers in Star Wars.

So, what is next for Noland Arbaugh? Well, he has already expanded to playing other games with his mind, including online chess and Mario Kart. Noland says that the biggest restriction is that he has to wait for the Neuralink to charge. If you’re wondering where the charging cable goes, it’s his butt. But don’t worry, he can’t feel it.