Billionaire Elon Musk gives a presentation on Neuralink and surgical robots on August 28, 2020 – Photo: AFP
According to Neuralink, FDA approval for human clinical trials is “an important first step” for its technology, which aims to eventually allow the brain to interface directly with the computer.
“We are delighted to receive FDA approval to begin human clinical trials,” Neuralink posted on Twitter.
Neuralink is developing a chip that can be plugged into a person’s skull and connected to electrodes inserted into the human brain. The electrodes can monitor and potentially stimulate brain activity.
In December 2022, billionaire Elon Musk said that the Neuralink team was working hard to prepare for the first human transplant.
Previously, the company had transplanted the brains of around 23 monkeys between 2017 and 2020. They were able to play simple video games after receiving the brain transplant, but 15 of those monkeys died.
An illustration of the process of implanting Neuralink chips in the human brain – Photo: AFP
According to the AFP news agency, billionaire Elon Musk predicts brain transplants that can cure a range of diseases and syndromes, including obesity, autism, depression and schizophrenia, in addition to allowing web browsing and developing telepathic skills.
He made headlines late last year when he said he was so confident in the devices’ safety that he was willing to implant them in his children.
“Initially, we will help people who have almost no muscle movement by helping them use their phones faster than people with strong hands,” said billionaire Elon Musk. “As magical as it sounds, we believe it is possible to restore full-body function to a person with a spinal cord injury.”
Beyond the ability to cure disease, Musk’s ultimate goal is to ensure humans aren’t intellectually overwhelmed by artificial intelligence (AI).
Musk argues that synchronizing minds with machines is crucial for humans to avoid being overtaken by AI. Experts and scholars remain wary of Elon Musk’s vision of a symbiotic combination of the human mind and the supercomputer.
Elon Musk and Neuralink: The road is long