Neuralink Animal Testing Leads to Needless Deaths. Will Humans Be Next?

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on December 9, 2022

Elon Musk wants to start human testing for Neuralink, and there are plans to begin things in 2023. However, with recent concerns over potential animal-welfare violations during testing and Musk’s usual antics, things might become more complicated. Investigation aside, Musk seems confident, even going so far as stating his plans to implant a device in his own head when they are ready.

Neuralink wants to change people’s lives. Neuralink is not as talked about as some of Musk’s other companies, like Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, but it still carries ambitious goals. Primarily, Musk is looking to create a human-computer interface that allows people to directly control technology with their minds.

The technology offers a lot of commercial possibilities, but it will also have the potential to help people. The blind will have the chance to see again, and those with spinal cord injuries could regain the ability to walk. And those are just some of the initial applications suggested by Musk.

How it works: The goal is to control computers or mobile devices from anywhere using an implantable brain-computer interface. The components include the link, which is the implanted device responsible for processing and transmitting neural signals from the brain. Meanwhile, neural threats detect the signals.

All of the technology is meant to come together and interpret the signals before implementing them for us. There are other companies working on similar technology, and it is all game-changing, providing hope for those in need and immense potential for the future.

Human testing is on the horizon. The most impressive part is that the technology is set for human trials that could begin as soon as 2023. Musk went as far as to say it will be ready within the next six months, giving an optimistic update while keeping safety in mind.

“We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human,” said Musk. He even reassured people that while progress might seem slow, much is being done in parallel.

The technology still needs FDA approval. Despite Musk’s optimism about the project, there are still some major hiccups in his way, including US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Neuralink currently lacks permission to sell the implant, but most of the necessary paperwork for approval to start human implantation has supposedly been submitted.

Investigations into animal testing might impact the company’s future. While Musk and Neuralink are talking about upcoming human trials, there is currently an investigation into the company over animal testing. There have been staff complaints about animal welfare, along with reports of a 1,500 death count.

  • Reports indicate that animal testing has been rushed, perhaps due to the need for progress and the desire to begin human trials.
  • The rush has resulted in needless animal deaths and suffering, which is now under a federal probe by the US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General.
  • Neuralink has passed all USDA inspections, and the animal deaths are not proof of wrongdoing. The investigation’s focus is on treatment and whether the deaths were unwarranted due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Musk is known for applying immense pressure on his employees, demanding results, and offering ultimatums. However, whether experiments are being rushed and botched because of it is still not clear. Even if it is true, it might not impact FDA approval for human testing since the treatment of animals during research is handled by the USDA. Hopefully, if human trials are approved, Musk and Neuralink take a more patient approach.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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