Elon Musk's venture into the realm of brain-machine interfaces with Neuralink is on the verge of a significant milestone, as the company prepares to conduct human trials. Thousands of volunteers are eager to participate in these trials, despite initial concerns and controversies surrounding the treatment of test subjects, particularly monkeys.
Neuralink Corp, founded by Musk, is at the forefront of developing brain implants that have the potential to revolutionize human-computer interaction.
Their experimental technology involves the insertion of a device into a person's brain to facilitate the seamless transmission of thoughts and brain activity to external devices such as laptops or tablets.
Imagine willingly volunteering to have a robot carve out a piece of your skull, then play electrician by sticking a bunch of electrodes and superthin wires into your brain. What do you get in return? A quarter-sized computer embedded in your noggin that's supposed to stay there for years, acting as your personal brain-to-tech translator.
Our surgical robot uses advanced imaging systems to detect the brain and insert threads away from blood vessels. Here, you can see everything the robot sees while we test the accuracy of each of the robot’s high-precision cameras 👀 #techtuesday pic.twitter.com/c5rklTp2m4— Neuralink (@neuralink) May 23, 2023
Sure, other companies have been dabbling in brain-machine interfaces, allowing people to click things with their minds. But Neuralink? They're promising a supposedly wild future.
After the procedure, you'd stroll out as a human-machine hybrid, capable of downloading knowledge like Neo from The Matrix or sending your thoughts into the digital ether. Musk even hinted at achieving symbiosis with artificial intelligence.
The first person with Neuralink waking up after thier procedure! 😅😅 pic.twitter.com/EjDMCGS3AF— Gamer Perception (@gamerperception) November 8, 2023
However, Neuralink has not been without its share of skepticism and concerns.
The company's promises have raised eyebrows in the scientific community, with some neuroscientists questioning the feasibility of achieving such lofty goals.
But more importantly, animal-rights groups have raised concerns about the treatment of test subjects, particularly monkeys and pigs that have been involved in the company's experiments. The treatment of these animals has been criticized as cruel, and it has prompted discussions about ethical considerations and the safety of the technology.
The specifics of these cases are disturbing and have led to questions about the welfare of the test subjects.
No monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 10, 2023
First our early implants, to minimize risk to healthy monkeys, we chose terminal moneys (close to death already),
Still, it seems people are undeterred by the monkey business.
Despite these concerns, Neuralink has recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed with human trials. The trials are set to commence soon, with the aim of proving the device's effectiveness in helping individuals with neurological disorders regain control and autonomy.
Thousands are lining up to be among the first to test-drive Neuralink's brain implant technology. Musk's biographer, Ashlee Vance, reports that there's a genuine outpouring of interest from eager volunteers.