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Neuralink: Elon’s startup blasted for animal cruelty pre-brain implant

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TLDR:
Elon Musk’s brain chip startup, Neuralink, has successfully implanted a wireless chip in a human for the first time. The recipient underwent the procedure on January 28 and is recovering well. Neuralink aims to build direct communication channels between the brain and computers to treat neurological disorders like ALS and Parkinson’s. However, the company has faced criticism for its animal testing practices, with around 1,500 animals reportedly killed during clinical trials. Neuralink received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in May 2023 to conduct its first trial on humans.

In a groundbreaking development, Elon Musk’s brain chip startup, Neuralink, has successfully implanted a wireless chip in a human for the first time. The recipient underwent the procedure on January 28 and is said to be recovering well. Musk shared the news on Twitter, stating, “The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”

Neuralink, co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016, is a neurotechnology company that aims to build direct communication channels between the brain and computers. The ultimate goal is to develop treatments for neurological disorders such as ALS and Parkinson’s. In May 2023, Neuralink received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct its first trial on humans.

However, Neuralink has faced criticism for its animal testing practices. The company initially partnered with the University of California to test its brain chip at UC Davis’s primate center. These clinical trials reportedly resulted in the death of around 1,500 animals, including primates and pigs, since 2018. Despite terminating its agreement with UC Davis in 2020, experiments using animals continued within Neuralink’s internal departments. In August 2020, Neuralink showcased brain activity in a chip-implanted pig, and less than a year later, the company demonstrated how a chip-implanted monkey played Pong.

The FDA initially dismissed Neuralink’s application for human trials in 2022 due to concerns about the implant’s threads potentially migrating to other areas of the brain. However, in May 2023, Musk announced that Neuralink had received FDA approval to proceed with human trials.

While the successful implantation of a wireless chip in a human is a significant milestone for Neuralink, the company’s past animal testing controversies have raised ethical concerns. Animal rights activists have criticized the large number of animals killed during clinical trials, highlighting the need for better transparency and ethical considerations in the development of neurotechnology.

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