By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
SAN FRANCISCO, USA (Worthy News) – Elon Musk, perhaps the world’s most eccentric entrepreneurial billionaire, already had an online bank, solar roof tiles, a tunnel-digging machine, an electric car, a reusable rocket, and the occasional electric car riding a missile. He now hopes to add brain implant technology to his wishlist and connect the human brain to a computer within six months.
Musk’s health tech venture Neuralink shared updates to its brain chips at an event where he pledged to install one himself when they are ready. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas, Neuralink is developing brain chips to help disabled patients to move and communicate again, he explained.
Two monkeys were reportedly already using the technique, moving computer cursors with their brains. Encouraged by these findings, Musk said Neuralink was about “six months” away from the first human trial after the firm missed earlier deadlines set by him.
Musk stressed that two of the firm’s applications would restore vision, even for people who were born blind. And a third was to focus on the motor cortex, enabling “full body functionality” for people with severed spinal cords.
The announcements must be treated with skepticism, said critical experts, and there were ethical questions about how much control Musk’s ventures may have over people’s lives.
“Obviously, we want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device in a human. But we’re submitted, I think, most of our paperwork to the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] FDA,” Musk countered.
Musk, 51, said he plans to get one himself. “You could have a Neuralink device implanted right now, and you wouldn’t even know. I mean, hypothetically … In fact, in one of these demos, I will,” he claimed.
Yet, developing the implants didn’t go as fast as he had planned. Musk approached competitor Synchron this year about an investment after he was frustrated about the “slow progress” of Neuralink employees, sources said.
Synchron crossed a milestone in July by implanting its device in a patient in the United States for the first time. It received U.S. regulatory clearance for human trials in 2021 and has reportedly completed studies on four people in Australia.
Yet Musk, who also runs electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, rocket firm SpaceX, and social media platform Twitter, wants to stay ahead of the competition. After all, he is known for lofty goals such as “colonizing Mars” and “saving humanity.”
His ambitions for Neuralink, which he launched in 2016, are of the same grand scale.
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