Elon Musk is getting closer and closer to getting into people's heads.
It comes as his brain chip implants have been deemed safe for trials.
His firm Neuralink has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to carry out studies on humans.
We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!
This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our…
— Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023
Musk has claimed the devices are so safe he would use them on his own children, but as of yet, the volunteer recruitment process has not started. (I definitely will not be signing up)
He claims the chips would enable "super-human intelligence."
According to the Irish Daily Mail, super-human intelligence would allow us to become cyborgs by merging our minds with machines.
Apparently, this would help us to overcome the threat of AI, while also helping the blind to see, and paralysed people to walk.
It's also claimed that with the chip, people could save and replay memories - like a video recorder in the brain.
So, how is it inserted?
The implant is sealed in a container that can be wirelessly charged.
A robot then removes a small part of your skull.
A needle, thinner than a human hair, then inserts the implant's threads into the brain.
The robot glues up the incision and then you have your new cyborg abilities.
Musk claims the whole procedure takes less than an hour and requires a local anaesthetic.
The implant will record brain activity through the 64 threads and then relays the information to machines through Bluetooth.
Experimenting on animals
The implant has been tested on roughly 1,500 animals including pigs, sheep, and monkeys since 2018.
According to Reuters, 280 of those animals died following the experiment.
In 2021, Neuralink released footage of a monkey playing a video game using the implant.
He had been controlling the game by thinking about moving his hand up or down.
You can watch the video here. From 1:36, the monkey is seen controlling the game with his mind.
Is it really safe?
Whether the implant is safe for humans is yet to be decided.
Neuralink had previously struggled to get approval for human clinical trials because of concerns regarding the lithium battery.
It's also unknown whether or not the implant threads could migrate to other parts of the brain and if removing the device would cause damage to brain tissue.
I guess we wait and see.
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