With Neuralink, Elon Musk wants to take a groundbreaking step in medicine. But even as the number of skeptics grows, the first human tests are expected to start as soon as six months from now.
Musk Announces Soon Test of Neuralink
There is probably no more contentious person in the tech world right now than Elon Musk. On the one hand, there’s his success with companies like Tesla and SpaceX. With the e-car brand Tesla in particular, the native South African has made electric cars socially acceptable and even forced traditional companies like Volkswagen to rethink. SpaceX, in turn, enables reliable satellite Internet in war zones or poorly developed regions with Starlink. The billionaire is currently supporting Ukraine with this, for example. But there are also projects of the visionary that are anything but well received by the public. This doesn’t just mean the controversial purchase of the short message service Twitter. With Neuralink, some also fear the future fusion of man and machine.
Behind it is a mini-PC the size of a coin. This is to be inserted into the human brain and be able to offer the most diverse possibilities. In particular, people with disabilities or serious illnesses could experience improvement in this way. But the road to the goal seems to be a difficult one, and Elon Musk is facing a lot of criticism. For example, during the first tests on animals, animals were apparently tortured. However, the project does not seem to be impressed by this. After it was announced in January that tests on humans would soon take place, the first solid data is now available. In six months it should start, if it goes after Elon Musk, reports the news magazine Bloomberg.
US authorities give (almost) green light
Within the framework of his own event, Elon Musk was then able to share the happy news with investors, employees and the public. After the startup had been in permanent contact with the responsible authorities in the form of the US Food and Drug Administration, they no longer seem to be putting any obstacles in the way of the project. Musk was therefore moved to announce that the first chip from Neuralink is to be implanted in a human brain in just six months. However, the whole thing does not seem to be in the bag yet. After all, the Food and Drug Administration is probably still reserving the right to make a final assessment of the case. The focus here is not only on the safety and suitability of the chip. On top of that, they want to reconsider the risks of the surgical procedure.
Of course, Elon Musk, as the string-puller of the whole thing, is completely convinced of his technology. To present how it works, he took the event as an opportunity to show new moving images of his technology. On display was a monkey with a chip from Neuralink sitting in its brain as an implant. Through the brain implant, the monkey was able to operate a computer. He could not only move a mouse, but also type on the keyboard. Furthermore, the monkey played the classic video game Pong. So the technology seems to work perfectly. But the current step to testing it on humans is a gigantic one. How the chip behaves in the human brain, one must wait and see.
Neuralink is looking for new employees
While Elon Musk is laying off masses of employees on Twitter, he is going on the hunt for new personnel at Neuralink. This also seems to have been the main motivation for holding the event. He addressed potential new employees at Neuralink with the following words:
Often people think they couldn’t really work at Neuralink because they don’t know anything about biology or how the brain works. What we really want to emphasize here is that you don’t have to, because when you break down the skills that are required to make Neuralink work, it’s actually many of the same skills that are required to make a smartwatch or a modern phone work.Elon Musk
But does anyone really want to have a chip implanted in their brain that was not developed by a medical professional? That’s a question many will probably ask themselves. It remains to be seen whether Neuralink will really be able to conduct its first tests on humans as early as six months from now. It is possible that this is a proverbial groundbreaking step that could, for example, help people to walk again. But this is only one side of the coin. If Elon Musk has his way, even people in good health should be able to benefit from Neuralink. The goal is to merge artificial intelligence and the human brain. This sounds like a dystopian science fiction scenario that is unlikely to become reality anytime soon.