Elon Musk shocked even his most ardent fans after revealing that his technology start-up Neuralink was the first company to successfully implant a microchip into a human brain.
The world's richest man said the operation took place on Sunday and “initial results show promising detection of neuron spikes.”
The device, called “telepathy,” will “make it possible to control your phone or computer, and therefore almost any device, by simply thinking,” he said.
But many of his 170 million followers on X, formerly Twitter, accused him of “mind control,” creating “cyborgs” and even “playing God.”
“The negative potential inherent in this concerns me greatly,” one person wrote in a response to his announcement.
Musk announced Monday that he was the first person to receive a Neuralink brain implant
Many of the billionaire's followers reacted with alarm to his latest groundbreaking innovation
“The thought of this scares me,” another added.
Musk said he hopes it will allow users with disabilities like Stephen Hawking to “communicate faster than an auctioneer.”
First-time users are people who no longer have the use of their limbs. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal.'
The company's goal is to implant microchips into the brains of paralyzed people and allow them to move their bodies using their minds.
NEURALINK: ELON MUSK'S COMPUTER-BRAIN INTERFACE GAME
Elon Musk's Neuralink is working to connect the human brain to a machine interface by developing micron-sized devices.
Neuralink was registered as a “medical research company” in California in July 2016, and Musk has largely funded the company himself.
It's working on what Musk calls “neural lace” technology, which involves implanting tiny brain electrodes that could one day upload and download thoughts.
The original plan is to use the technology to support people suffering from severe degenerative brain diseases such as ALS. However, it could find wider application in the coming years.
“I think the real problem is that not even your thoughts are safe,” tweeted *TemplerTV.
“If they can decipher your thoughts, how long before the FBI gets a search warrant for your thought crime?”
“What if someone else starts controlling you and you can easily understand who I mean,” Sagar Pandey added. “Scary.”
“Any technological progress must be based on bioethical principles, otherwise playing with God always ends badly,” wrote Father Juan Manuel Gongora.
But others were more positive.
“Well done Neuralink and Elon!! “This could well be an important moment in history,” one user wrote.
“This is great news, we are expanding at the last two frontiers.” Space and Spirit, I can’t wait for the next company presentation. So excited!' wrote another one.
Neuralink announced in September that it would soon begin a human trial to evaluate the safety of its implant.
Less than a year after Neuralink received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for human surgery, a crucial milestone for the startup.
Musk wrote on
Details about the patient were not provided, but Ashlee Vance, who wrote a 2015 biography titled “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Search for an Awesome Future,” wrote in a Bloomberg report that she was the ideal candidate for Neuralink's first The human experiment is “an adult under the age of 40 whose four limbs are paralyzed.”
Vance explained that it would take a surgeon “a few hours” to perform a craniectomy and another 25 minutes for the chip to be inserted into the area of the brain by a robot that controls the hands, wrists and forearms.
“The aim is to show that the device can safely collect useful data from this part of the patient's brain. “This is an important step in Neuralink’s efforts to convert a person’s thoughts into a series of commands that a computer can understand,” Vance added.
Vance said the implant would relay that information to a nearby laptop or tablet.
During the human trial, a robot developed by the company will surgically place the implants' “ultra-fine” threads, which help transmit signals, into participants' brains, the company said.
Vance, who said he visited Neuralink's facilities 10 times in three years, also revealed how Musk had pushed his company to fend off the threat from similar brain computing startups such as Synchron and Onward.
Both have already begun human trials, prompting the billionaire to fume last year that the two companies are “kicking our asses right now.”
In response, he reportedly told Neuralink that the company needed to speed up its pace, “as if the world was ending,” Vance said.
Portal reported in June that the company was valued at up to $5 billion based on private stock trades.
However, Neuralink has been the subject of controversy in recent years, raising ethical concerns and skepticism among neuroscientists and other experts.
Safety concerns meant that for a time the company had difficulty obtaining the necessary approval for human trials, particularly from the FDA.
The biggest issues involved the device's lithium battery; the possibility that the implant's wires migrate within the brain; and the challenge of safely removing the device without damaging brain tissue.
The FDA later granted its approval in May, but did not disclose how its initial concerns were addressed.
Despite the controversy, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Musk has big ambitions for Neuralink, saying the company will enable rapid surgical deployment of its chip devices to treat conditions such as obesity, autism, depression and schizophrenia.
It could also enable Internet surfing and telepathy.
But even if the device proves safe for human use, it may still take more than a decade for Neuralink to receive approval for commercialization, experts warn.
Where it will go: The study will use a robot to surgically place a brain-computer interface (BCI) implant in a region of the brain that controls movement, Neuralink added. Pictured is a scan showing the implant in an animal's brain
You can see a monkey with the Neuralink chip implanted in its brain playing a game
Experts say the brain implants will require extensive testing to overcome technical and ethical challenges if they are to become widely available.
Musk's company, which was only founded in 2016, has repeatedly overestimated the speed with which it delivers on its promises.
Neuralink originally planned to start putting chips into people in 2020 before pushing that back to 2022. In 2024 the time has finally come.
In response to Musk's demands, there was also a warning from one of the company's executives.
Shivon Zilis, director of special projects at Neuralink and mother of two of Musk's children, referred to the fate of SpaceX's first rocket launches, telling Vance: “We can't blow up the first three.” That's not an option here. '
NEURALINK “BUSHED UP EXPERIMENTS” WITH MONKEY – SAYS FORMER EMPLOYEE
“Bogged experiments” by Elon Musk’s Neuralink allegedly kept “suffering animals alive for no reason and malpractice led to brain hemorrhages in monkeys,” a former Neuralink employee and internal lab notes previously revealed.
The billionaire's startup is accused of violating animal welfare law with its experiments at the University of California at Davis from 2017 to 2020, in which “all animals involved were sacrificed,” a former Neuralink employee who wished to remain anonymous told DailyMail. com.
One case in particular caught their attention: a monkey was sacrificed prematurely because errors were allegedly made during the operation.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit against the University of California at Davis, where the experiments were conducted, saying it was required to release video footage and photos of the experiments under California's Public Records Act. Pictured is a picture of a monkey shown on the Neuralink website
previously obtained lab notes from Neuralink detailing how a sealant was applied to the surgical holes, causing the monkey's brain to swell and bleed.
“There was no reason to use it,” the former employee, who worked as an autopsy technician, told .
This incident is one of a long list of cases brought to light by former employees in recent months, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to open a federal investigation into Nueralink for animal welfare violations.
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