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Business News/ News / World/  Horror stories behind Elon Musk's brain chip experiments
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Horror stories behind Elon Musk's brain chip experiments

Experts claim such experiments should be done with noninvasive methods

Elon Musk is building a device to put in your brain (REUTERS)Premium
Elon Musk is building a device to put in your brain (REUTERS)

Tech billionaire Elon Musk again promises the unthinkable. He claims that his brain chip company Neuralink will soon present a device that will let the blind see and paralyzed person walk. And in the next six months, the device will be ready to be implanted in the human brain. 

While it does sound miraculous, several experts have pointed out that Neuralink's experiment has certain threats linked to it and they advise such experiments should be done with noninvasive methods. Earlier, these chips were experimented on monkeys and there are hundreds of pages of public records that show how the animal suffered from them. 

What are the controversies around Neuralink? 

Physicians Committee for ResponsibleMedicine cited, the experiments resulted in chronic infections, seizures, paralysis, internal bleeding, and declining psychological health before they were killed. 

The researchers also went on to publish the case studies of 8 monkeys of how they suffered from the sloppy experiments. 

For example, “Animal 11," a 10-year-old female macaque, went through a six-hour surgery in which they drilled holes in her skull and implanted electrodes in her brain. 

Handwritten records reveal that the implants became infected almost immediately, the “skin was eroded," and she was “scratching at left implant." Soon, the skin on her head was “pierced" by the metal implant and there was “dark dried blood" around it.

Later, they killed her following another invasive surgery.

In another incident, in one monkey, the adhesive caused bleeding in her brain, and she vomited so much from the resulting side effects that she developed open sores in her esophagus.

 “He’s (Elon Musk) a showman who makes big promises while hiding the grisly details from the public. We’re pulling back the curtain on him," said Ryan Merkley, director of research advocacy with the Physicians Committee.

Is it safe for humans to use Neuralink's brain chip?

Elon Musk asserted that his company has to be extremely careful before putting a device in a human brain. "We've been working hard to be ready for our first human [implant], and obviously we want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device in a human," Elon Musk said.

Currently, Neuralink has submitted all paperwork to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is waiting for its approval to begin clinical trials in people. 

Meanwhile, The Physicians Committee points out that advances in brain-machine interfaces can be made using human-relevant methods, including noninvasive methods and data collected from patients during medically necessary neurosurgery.

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Updated: 02 Dec 2022, 06:07 PM IST
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