The company Neuralink recently unveiled a new video in which a monkey is seen typing entirely with its brain, which it claims will advance efforts to implant the chip into people the following year. It’s not the first time we’ve seen something similar, but Neuralink claims the demonstration demonstrates “telepathic typing” by allowing the monkey to communicate with the computer through a chip implanted in its brain.
The presentation last week, titled “Neuralink Show and Tell,” took a close look at the work the company has been doing lately, including the neural interface, implant testing, and spinal cord applications.
A live robot implant of the chip was performed by a group of researchers, a monkey was shown typing on a virtual keyboard, and other demonstrations of the various uses of an internal brain-computer interface were shown after an introduction by co-founder Elon Musk. Although the technology is meant to aid those who are blind or paralyzed, even Elon Musk has hinted at purchasing one.
Musk said that now that they have arrived to this point, the chip will soon be accessible for human clinical testing. He even went so far as to say that he feels the method is safe enough to use if his children were involved in an accident that Neuralink could help with.
The millionaire had previously made absurd claims about the technology, claiming it will “cure” tinnitus and “make language useless” in 5–10 years. Before the product may enter human minds, the corporation must first receive FDA permission.
Despite the work’s stunning appearance, the neuroscience community has strongly criticized it for being significantly less cutting-edge than Neurolink claims, as well as for their high mortality rates for the monkeys utilized in testing.
Although Neuralink claims to be at the cutting edge of medical technology and is developing brain-computer interfaces that will fundamentally revolutionize how we care for patients with life-altering illnesses, neuroscientists contend that Neuralink is actually years, if not decades, behind. In recent years, numerous laboratories have shown wired and wireless devices that can detect brain impulses and transform them into computer operations. Brain interfaces have been around for a while. The company is one of the few investigating direct brain implants, but doing so has a price.
The internet was flooded with proof of Neuralink’s alleged mistreatment of animals earlier this year, according to allegations that suggested the company may be killing more primates than necessary. According to a complaint filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Neuralink’s research at the University of California Davis, where it was housed before moving to Texas, was inhumane and caused primates to suffer needlessly.
The college claimed to have 185 pictures, including necropsies, of the monkey studies but would not share them because “the public would misunderstand them.” The corporation is still being sued for the cruel treatment of lab animals.
Musk addressed these worries in the most recent episode of Show & Tell, although it is still unknown whether the monkeys are truly “happy and healthy.”