Elon Musk allegedly lied when he said no monkeys died after receiving a Neuralink implant. While the company is looking for human patients to test its technology, an investigation reveals the unenviable fate of the guinea pig animals.
[Note de la rédaction] : passages in this article may offend the sensibilities of some readers. Despite everything, they seemed essential to us in processing this information.
Who will be the first human guinea pig with a Neuralink implant ? The neurotechnology company, which works on the development of brain-machine interfaces, is indeed looking for patients ready to test its solution. The clinical study received the green light from the FDA, the American authority in charge of drug products, and it will last six years. In detail, the patient will receive a surgical implant that places wires in the region of the brain controlling movements.
Read Neuralink seeks human guinea pigs to test its brain implant
Those interested may be put off by the grueling investigation of Wired which details the living and dying conditions of guinea pig monkeys. In March 2019, a guinea pig was euthanized after a rapid decline in health following placement of the implant. The animal’s brain was bleeding due to damage to parts of its cerebral cortex.
Very quickly, the monkey began to press its head against the ground, thus signaling pain; then he started scratching the implant, another sign of his discomfort. He ended up losing all motor coordination and “ was shaking uncontrollably “, according to employees interviewed by the publication which lists the examples: implant that loosens, bacterial infections, etc.
We can deplore it, but to advance science and medical advances sometimes need to test their solutions on animals before humans. Lies and petty compromises with the truth are much less acceptable. On September 10, Elon Musk, the boss of Neuralink, asserted on Twitter that “ no monkey has died from a Neuralink implant “. Which already contradicts the findings of Wired.
But he adds: “ Our first implants were carried out in terminally ill monkeys, close to death, in order to minimize the risks to healthy monkeys “. A former employee completely refutes this explanation, calling it “ ridiculous » : « We had these monkeys for a year or more before we performed the surgery. “. A period necessary to carry out behavioral training on the monkey, which effectively excludes subjects close to death. This is not the first time that the company has been suspected of animal abuse.
Read Neuralink: Elon Musk’s company suspected of animal abuse
Throughout Elon Musk’s statements and promises, many have learned to take the businessman’s communication with the greatest caution. And distrust is all the more necessary when we talk about brain implants.