March 11, 2024 at 3:43 pm

Monkeys Implanted With Neuralink Had Brain Swelling, Partial Paralysis And Self Harming Behavior

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

As if there’s not enough of Elon Musk in the news, now the guy has FDA approval to start human trials of his neuralink brain chip.

That, after trials in monkeys can’t exactly be called a success.

Musk’s company, Neuralink, definitely didn’t publicize the death toll the brain-computer interface (BCI) took on the rhesus macaques they tested them on in 2019-2020.

The monkeys suffered symptoms like brain swelling, partial paralysis, and self-harming behavior that resulted in a full 21% of them having to be euthanized.

Source: Shutterstock

In one incident, one of the chips “broke off” during surgery, and the monkey kept at it until it resulted in an infected wound that could not be treated.

Another subject picked at her surgery wound until she lost her coordination and had to be put down.

And listen, when we’re talking about experimental and devices and animal trials, a few deaths and poor outcomes are usually part of the deal. As sad as it is, that’s often how progress is made.

That said, Neuralink chose not to inform potential human subjects of these outcomes before signing them up for their own trials.

As it happens, those results don’t seem to have been shared with Neuralink’s investors, either.

Source: Flickr/Jurvetson

Source: Flickr/Steve Jurvetson – CC 2.0

The SEC is supposedly investigating these events, but we can’t confirm that information.

The Department of Agriculture did investigate whether or not they violated the Animal Welfare Act, but the case was closed in 2023, finding no evidence of animal research rule violations.

As far as the first human subject, we have to take Musk’s word for it that they’re “recovering well.”

Time will tell whether or not humans struggle as much as our primate cousins to assimilate a piece of computer technology in their brains.

I, for one, am not sure any of this is a good idea.

But I’m also sure Elon Musk doesn’t really care.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.