Neuralink, which is currently testing its brain interface tech on monkeys (and which has also been accused of animal cruelty), targets the brain’s motor cortex and claims to have the potential to fix everything from complete blindness at birth to restoring full-body movement in cases of paralysis. In a presentation that he gave last year about the tech’s progress, Musk demonstrated two monkeys controlling a computer cursor with their minds via signals transmitted by the Neuralink implant. Another public demonstration showcased a macaque playing ping pong in a similar fashion.
In March, Reuters claimed the company had approached Arizona-based Barrow Neurological Institute about partnering with it for eventual human clinical trials, but so far, an official announcement about any such arrangement is yet to come. Meanwhile, it was reported in December 2022 that Neuralink faced an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over alleged animal welfare code violations. A couple of months later, the U.S. Department of Transportation kicked off a probe into the company over its alleged mishandling of hazardous materials as part of its animal trials.
Musk has said that the goal is to make the Neuralink brain chip implant process as simple as getting a LASIK eye surgery. Speaking on an episode of MIT researcher Lex Fridman’s podcast, Musk claimed controversially that Neuralink “solves a lot of brain-related diseases. Could be anything from autism, schizophrenia, and memory loss.” In the past, Musk also suggested that Neuralink could help treat disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.