ELON Musk has divided fans after confirming his controversial “brain microchip” has finally been implanted in the first human.
According to Musk, the Neuralink tech “will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”
Elon Musk announced on Monday that the first human test subject has undergone a Neuralink implant placement and preliminary results are promising[/caption]
The technology was developed primarily to “restore autonomy” to individuals whose medical status reduced their mobility, like those with ALS[/caption]
Initial tests were completed on Macaques, a type of primate, with one test having the animal use its mind via a wireless connection to operate a joystick[/caption]
The Neuralink mission is to “restore autonomy” to individuals with “unmet medical needs,” with a vision to “unlock human potential” in the future, the company has said.
It received FDA clearance for its first-in-human clinical trial in May, with the company saying it initially wanted to test on 10 humans – that number has since changed to six.
“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”
The brain chip has 1,000 electrodes and hopes to help people wirelessly perform computer functions simply by thinking via a “think-and-click” mechanism.
Neuralink, the start-up founded by Musk in 2016, said last month that it was looking for quadriplegics under 40 years old to take part in the human trials.
People have had split reactions to the news, with some seeing the advancement as foreboding and others viewing it as hopeful.
“The negative potential of this makes me very uneasy,” wrote one person on X.
“I’m terrified by the thought of it,” slammed another.
Someone else replied, “Elon can turn off this fear with a chip in your brain.”
“Matrix time,” another said, referencing the iconic dystopian movie.
“The first cyborg has been born,” shared another.
Others, meanwhile, were astounded by the advancement and are excited to see how it places in history.
“Well done Neuralink and Elon!! This might very well turn out to be an important moment in history,” wrote one user.
“This is awesome news, we’re expanding on the two final frontiers. Space and the mind, can’t wait for the next company talk. So excited!” shared another.
Some were thirsty for more information on the human trial development.
“This is crazy, holy c**p. I can’t wait to get more info. Can you share more about what you’re treating?” asked a follower.
“I was wondering about the neuron spikes. Good to hear,” wrote another.
Neuralink received the FDA’s approval to launch its first-in-human clinical study in May last year.
“This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people,” the company said at the time.
In a speech at the company headquarters in December, Musk addressed concerns and his plan for caution moving forward.
“We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work before putting a device into a human,” he said.
“The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel.”
Neuralink announced its search for human test subject on November 21 via X with a short video detailing what the “PRIME” study would entail.
Standing for “Precise Robotically IMplanted brain-computer InterfacE,” the study asked for people “living with quadriplegia due to spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),” to consider being the first to receive the implant.
In April 2021, Neuralink showed a Macaque, known as Pager, with one of the chips playing Pong.
The animal was seen using a joystick manually and then operating it with only its mind via a wireless connection with the chip.
Neuralink reportedly implanted Bluetooth-enabled chips into the brains of several monkeys to see if they could communicate with computers through a small receiver.
Some of the test subjects are believed to have “suffered infections from the implanted electrodes placed in their brains,” said the company.
About 1,500 animals – including more than 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys – have died as a result of Neuralink tests since 2018, according to a report from last December.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit claiming it had evidence macaques used in previous trials were subjected to horrific suffering in 2022.
They claimed the animals were subject to “extreme suffering” – with one monkey having holes drilled in its skull.
Experiments allegedly left 15 out of 23 monkeys dead.
In one instance, a monkey was found missing some fingers and toes, possibly caused by self-mutilation, legal papers claimed.
Another case revealed a female macaque monkey had electrodes implanted into its brain, which caused it to be overcome with vomiting, retching, and gasping.
An autopsy later showed the monkey suffered from a brain hemorrhage.
Bloody skin infections, monkeys collapsing, and other horrific side effects were also recorded in the results, according to court papers.
Neuralink conducted its monkey experiments in partnership with scientists at the University of California, Davis.
“No monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant. First, our early implants, to minimize risk to healthy monkeys, we chose terminal monkeys (sic) (close to death already),” Musk replied to a meme on X.
Since the idea for Neuralink was introduced, consumers have been split over whether the technology is for the betterment of humanity or will lead to its downfall[/caption]
In 2022, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit claiming it had evidence macaques used in previous trials were subjected to horrific suffering[/caption]
The lawsuit claimed a female macaque monkey had electrodes implanted into its brain, which caused it to be overcome with vomiting, retching and gasping[/caption]