Elon Musk is making promises (he likely can’t keep) again.
The billionaire, who claimed Tesla’s Cybertruck would begin production this year (spoiler alert: it didn’t) and who also proclaimed he’d make his own smartphone if he had to (spoiler alert: he probably won’t), has now made perhaps his loftiest business claim yet. Neuralink, Musk’s biotech company that specializes in making brain chips to restore functionality to disabled bodies, will reportedly begin testing on human subjects soon.
As reported by Bloomberg, Musk made the statement in a nearly three-hour-long Neuralink recruitment event on Wednesday, the entirety of which can be viewed on YouTube. During the event, Musk intimated that human trials could begin in the next six months pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the device, which is roughly the size of a small stack of coins and would be implanted into the brain by a surgery-performing robot.
Once implanted, the device would purportedly allow the brain to wirelessly interface with a computer, though Musk said the company is also working on devices to restore vision to the blind and movement to those with paralysis.
Musk even said he’d get one implanted in himself eventually.
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There are, of course, major concerns to be had about all of this. The New York Times quoted multiple experts who suggested that claims like restoring full vision to blind people are far-fetched given the current state of technology. One expert also took umbrage with the idea of implanting chips in able-bodied people, as the company’s stated goal is to theoretically restore functionality to those who have lost it.
At least one test monkey has died as a result of Neuralink’s research, as well, so the safety of test subjects is another potential issue to worry about. Bloomberg’s report did indicate that Neuralink has since taken steps to increase the comfort and safety of animal test subjects over time.
As with all things Musk, it’s probably best to take a wait-and-see approach with Neuralink’s promises. After all, he still needs FDA approval to move forward. One must simply look at the fact that SpaceX hasn’t sent anyone to Mars yet and how you can’t even pay for Twitter Blue right now to understand that these “Musk-y things” take time.
That is, if they happen at all.