This is a cache of It is a snapshot of the page at 2024-06-18T00:47:19.406+0000.
Sources Say Neuralink Went Ahead With Human Implantation Knowing The Risk Of Malfunction Was High » TwistedSifter
June 16, 2024 at 3:11 pm

Sources Say Neuralink Went Ahead With Human Implantation Knowing The Risk Of Malfunction Was High

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There’s not much that Elon Musk or his companies do these days that gets positive press.

Between Neuralink’s hasty advance to human trials and their battered (and sometimes deceased) monkey patients, it’s certainly the rule and not the exception.

In a press release, Neuralink admitted that wires in the initial patient’s neural implant have come loose.

Reuters reported that sources at the company say the powers that be have known for years that the wires in their brain chip “retract,” but went ahead with brain surgery on a human volunteer anyway.

Given that you can’t quietly euthanize a human the way you can a monkey test subject, this is more than a little alarming.

Source: Shutterstock


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also knew about the wire issues, but approved the human trial. They have declined to comment, but say they are observing the company’s test subjects.

Their first human test subject is Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old quadriplegic. His chip is considered successful because he was able to play video games using his mind.

The implant is made up of a battery, communications chip, a microprocessor, and other tech in a circular container the size of a quarter.

There are 64 wire threads coming out of it, each of which is finer than a human hair, which are woven into the brain’s motor cortex in order to “read” the patient’s mind.

Neuralink scientists noticed that the data from Arbaugh’s device declined over time, and knew this meant some of the wires had come loose. They posit that air introduced during surgery could be a factor, but have yet to come up with a way to mitigate the physical issue.

They do say they’ve compensated by making the algorithms more sensitive.

Anonymous sources from the company, though, think that as the chip’s performance degrades even further, this may not be enough to compensate for the loss.

There’s not a simple or quick solution, and most experts don’t believe the potential benefits mean ignoring safety issues is the right course of action.

Only time will tell.

That said, I don’t think I’d sign up for the trials anytime soon.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about why we should be worried about the leak in the bottom of the ocean.