Elon Musk, especially after his recent involvement in Twitter, is often associated with being somewhat eccentric. However, one of his many other companies, Neuralink, has just had a huge breakthrough. Neuralink is a company engaged in developing a device called The Link’. The Link is an interface system which can be controlled directly through brain activity. This could potentially help people with paralysis to control devices, but with their thoughts – eliminating the need for limb movement. The company was founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and other scientists and engineers. Essentially, the device is able to record and interpret signals produced by neurons in the brain, translating them into computers or prosthetics.
This chip which is around the size of a coin is implanted in the skull. Micro-wires, that are about 20 times thinner than human hair, are spread out into the brain and are added for a secure connection. A robot is being developed in order to ensure a safe and precise process. It has been claimed that this process is just as simple as LASIK eye surgery.
Now that we’ve discussed the device and company itself, the ethical and medical controversy surrounding the company is impossible to ignore. Firstly, various uncorroborated claims have been made, yet no clinical trials have been conducted. The company has played videos of a pig and monkeys with implants. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine has raised concerns over the treatment of the monkeys involved in the research. Furthermore, it has been widely considered unethical and inappropriate to allow people suffering from serious conditions to get their hopes up about treatment, yet no disclaimers regarding this have been put out.
All in all, the company may be progressing, but concerns cannot be ignored until appropriate records are available and the required testing has been conducted.
- Meera Shukla (9C) and Shiva Seth (9B)