Elon Musk’s brain-chip firm says it has received approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to conduct its first tests on humans.
Musk has told the world+dog that he will use the chip so that “the blind shall see and the lame shall walk” and eventually turn people into cyborgs and wonder at the miracles of Musk. But the firm had struggled to secure clinical-trial approval for the relatively modest goal of helping disabled people type.
The Neuralink implant company wants to help restore people’s vision and mobility by connecting brains with computers. However, it has not had much luck. Firstly, less invasive methods have been developed since Neuralink started work and secondly, the body count among Musk’s animal test subjects has been high.
The company has sacrificed 1,500 animals on the altar of Musk’s idea, including more than 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys being killed in experiments since 2018. The sources characterised that figure as a rough estimate because the company does not keep precise records on the number of animals tested and killed. Neuralink has conducted research using lots of rats and mice who no one ever bothers counting.
Insiders complained that the body count was high because Musk was forcing them to meet ridiculous deadlines. The US Department of Agriculture’s inspector general is now investigating this claim at a federal prosecutor’s request.
Initially, the FDA rejected Musk’s application for human studies on his technology. His wizard idea to use a lithium battery in the device did not sit well with those who knew the dangers of having your brain catch fire. There were also questions about removing the device without damaging brain tissue.
Neuralink seems to have worked around these concerns enough to obtain the FDA’s consent. The company says it does not have immediate plans to start recruiting victims participants.