Neuralink Has Been Under Some Heat Recently

Neuralink, a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk in July of 2016 has been under some heat recently. Neuralink is a brain-chip that is inserted into the brain by neurosurgeons. The chip has a number of insulated wires connected with electrodes that can analyze and read the responses of the neurons firing in your brain through a process called electrophysiological recording. The signals picked up from those neurons are then outputted in the form of an action. When you move your arm to the right, certain sets of neurons are activated in a certain pattern. Over time, AI can begin to predict which direction the arm wants to move based on the neuron firings.

This means that someone with paralysis would be able to fully operate their body with mechanical assistance. An impossible task for them, such as simply operating their phone, could become possible again. Its purposes could be endless, with some even saying it could develop to the point of telepathy between humans. 

This is a very controversial invention, however, as many people see this as unnatural and taking technology too far. Although the technology is fascinating, most people can’t get behind the idea of inserting a chip in their head. According to the company’s website, “the device is implanted directly in the brain because placing it outside the head will not detect the signals produced by the brain accurately.” 

With such groundbreaking and controversial tech, it obviously took years to try to get this perfected and to testing stages, until recently. A series of trials that happened in April of 2021 using macaque monkeys  has been under intense heat for animal cruelty. Some articles say 15 out of 23 monkeys died, but Neuralink released an official statement saying only 8 out of the 23 monkeys had died in the experiment. Two of them died due to complications with the chip and six were euthanized as a planned part of the experiment to gather histological data. Many animal activists and community members were enraged to hear this statement. However, the “central mission is to design an animal care program prioritizing the needs of the animals, rather than the typical strategy of building for human convenience alone,” stated a Neuralink representative.