Neuralink may not be as famous as some of Musk’s other ventures, but the neurotech company he founded in 2016 is racing ahead to roll out human trials for its coin-sized brain implant, which could allow computers to decipher signals. neural. For years, Musk has touted Neuralink’s potential to enable quadriplegic patients to do just that control computers and mobile devices with their thoughts and potentially too restore motor function and treat neurological disorders.
Neuralink is planning to begin long-awaited human clinical trials for the implant within six months, Musk announced Wednesday evening at a corporate eventafter numerous delays in human trials in recent years. At the event, Musk also said he’s ready to try the device himself as soon as it’s ready.
“I could be getting a Neuralink device implanted right now, and you wouldn’t even know it,” Musk said. “Maybe one of these demos, actually, one of these demos I’ll do,” he added, to applause from the audience. He reiterated his commitment to receive an implant when pressed Chirping shortly after the event.
“Elon just committed to getting a brain implant. he says he might have one right now because it’s undetectable. “In fact, in one of these demos, I will,” Bloomberg reporter Ashlee Vance wrote on Twitter, prompting a clear response from Musk: “Yes.”
Neuralink didn’t respond immediately Fortunethe request for comment on Musk’s plans or the history of human clinical trials.
Musk said Neuralink is awaiting approval from the Food & Drug Administration to begin human trials. The company has so far tested its product on animals including pigs, ratsAnd primatesand on Wednesday Musk showed video footage of monkeys “telepathically writing.”
“Obviously, we want to be extra careful and certain it’s going to work well before we put a device into a human being, but I think most of our paperwork goes through the FDA,” he said.
Musk has announced several new potential uses for Neuralink, including the ability to restore vision for people born blind and even restore “full body function” to people who have suffered severed spinal cords and paralysis. Moss has said in the past that all humans will eventually require brain-computer interface devices like Neuralink to keep up with the super-advanced computers created by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
But Musk and Neuralink have endured their fair share of problems since the product’s inception, included numerous delays of human trials. Musk was targeted first human trials for Neuralink for 2020although the rollout has since been delayed several times.
The company has also been targeted by animal rights groups, who have accused it of abuse against the test subjects. A responsible health advocacy organization has even submitted to federal complaint earlier this year against Neuralink accusing the company of conducting “invasive and deadly brain experiments” on 23 monkeys. In February, Neuralink admitted for euthanizing eight monkeys linked to the complaint, six of which were due to complications from having the brain implant installed.
Some scientists have criticized Neuralink as overrated, arguing that many of Neuralink’s supposed breakthrough results were already known to science. Even a neuroscientist reported to Neuralink’s work in 2020 as “solid engineering but mediocre neuroscience”.
But the biggest problems with Neuralink’s ambitions may not be its science or outside allegations; they may come from within the company itself.
Former employees of Neuralink interviewed by Fortune in January he spoke of a corporate structure marked by “internal tensions and erratic management” and a culture of “guilt and fear”. Many employees described a high-pressure environment where product design decisions had to be made before reliable data arrived from scientific teams conducting animal experiments. As for Musk himself, despite being the CEO, employees said they rarely visited the headquarters, usually making about two visits a quarter, during which time he spent a few hours in the Neuralink offices.
Employees said it was often difficult to reach Musk to get approval on important decisions, as he was primarily concerned about his other companies Tesla And SpaceX. Musk’s distractions have probably only piled up since then, having recently bought social media company Twitter and taken over as CEO, in what he’s been a tumultuous mandate till now.
Neuralink didn’t respond immediately Fortunethe request for comment on various criticisms leveled at the company.
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