15 out of 23 monkeys die in Neuralink's trial to link human brain to computer

WION Web Team
California, United States Updated: Feb 13, 2022, 04:51 PM(IST)

In this file photo, a monkey can be seen with Neuralink's equipment Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Co-founded by Musk in 2016, San Francisco-based Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer chips to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and spinal cord injuries and fuse humankind with artificial intelligence

15 out of 23 monkeys have died in Neuralink's trial to link the human brain to a computer. The firm, that belongs to Tesla chief Elon Musk is conceiving implants to be able to communicate with machines by thought. 

The San Francisco-based company aims to implant wireless brain-computer chips to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia and spinal cord injuries and fuse humankind with artificial intelligence.

Neuralink works by recording and decoding electrical signals from the brain using more than 2,000 electrodes implanted in regions of the monkey’s motor cortex that coordinate hand and arm movements.

Musk has a history of bringing together diverse experts to develop technology previously limited to academic labs through companies such as Tesla Inc, SpaceX and Boring Co.

He has become an outspoken doomsayer about the threat artificial intelligence might one day pose to the human race. Continued growth in AI cognitive capabilities, he and like-minded critics suggest, could lead to machines that can outthink and outmaneuver humans with whom they might have little in common. 

Also read | Elon Musk's Neuralink to start clinical trials of implanting brain chips in humans

Hooking a brain up directly to electronics is not new. Doctors implant electrodes in brains to deliver stimulation for treating such conditions as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and chronic pain. In experiments, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms

But Musk’s proposal goes beyond this. Neuralink wants to build on those existing medical treatments as well as one day work on surgeries that could improve cognitive functioning.

Neuralink is not the only company working on artificial intelligence for the brain. 

Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, who sold his previous payments startup Braintree to PayPal for $800 million, started Kernel, a company working on “advanced neural interfaces” to treat disease and extend cognition, in 2016.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App