Elon Musk’s Neuralink can now experiment on humans

Elon Musk’s Neuralink got approved by the FDA for human trials. What does this mean for the future of brain-computer interfaces?
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Neuralink, the brain-computer interface company founded by renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2016, has garnered attention for its ambitious mission to restore vision, alleviate paralysis, and aid in treating autism through groundbreaking neurotechnologies. While Neuralink's recent FDA approval for human trials is a significant milestone, it has also raised concerns due to the company's history of controversial animal experiments. In this article, we will explore the implications of this approval and the responsibility of the FDA in granting it.

Neuralink's core objective is to develop advanced devices capable of reading neural signals and translating them into motor controls. Through this technology, individuals with various neurological conditions, such as paralysis and visual impairments, may regain lost functions and experience improved quality of life. In 2021, Elon Musk presented a demonstration featuring Sake the Monkey, showcasing how Neuralink could enable animals to control external interfaces using their neural signals.Neuralink's journey has not been without controversy. Previous animal trials conducted by the company resulted in the unfortunate death of 25 out of 90 pigs. Employees involved in these experiments reported rushed trials and the use of improperly sized chips, which raised significant ethical concerns and questions about the company's practices.

The FDA's recent approval for Neuralink to conduct human trials has sparked debates regarding the agency's responsibility in granting this authorization. Critics argue that the approval seems premature, considering the troubling history of animal trials and the reported flaws in the experimental procedures. These concerns have led some to question the thoroughness of the FDA's evaluation process. 

Neuralink's FDA approval for human trials represents a pivotal moment in the development of brain-computer interface technologies. While concerns regarding the company's animal experiments are valid, the FDA's decision likely reflects its confidence in Neuralink's ability to conduct responsible and safe human trials. Going forward, it is imperative for Neuralink to uphold the highest standards of safety, ethics, and transparency as they continue their groundbreaking work in the realm of neurology. By doing so, Neuralink has the potential to advance our understanding of the brain and revolutionize the lives of individuals living with neurological conditions.