You may have heard about Neuralink brain chips for a few years. Now that these chips have been made and are ready to be implanted in humans, many voices are being raised to express the horror they cause. We take stock of this issue.
What is the Neuralink brain chip?
The company Neuralink, co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016, has been developing a chip that is to be implanted in the human brain from 2022 to “record and stimulate brain activity”. device” that could be used in the treatment of severe spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders.
If at the end of 2021 Elon Musk wanted to reassure about the use of this brain chip by saying in particular: “We hope to have good results in our first human patients – these will be people who suffer from serious spinal cord injuries, such as being quadriplegic – next year, pending FDA approval because Neuralink’s device implantation standards are significantly higher than those required by the FDA,” other scientists believe the use of this brain chip could lead to very unethical abuse.
The Neuralink brain chip worries some scientists
While Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes his startup Neuralink is the future of human interaction with technology, many experts are unconvinced by his pitch. Researchers and scientists who have been studying the subject actually spoke to The Daily Beast earlier this week to express their dismay at Elon Musk’s goal of connecting human brains to computers. dr Karola Kreitmair, assistant professor of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin says:
I don’t think there is enough public discourse about the global implications of the availability of this type of technology. I’m afraid there’s an uncomfortable marriage between a for-profit company.
In fact, the ethics surrounding a technology like Neuralink are Neuralink. As a result, many are concerned about how these products (which, it will be remembered, were originally intended to help people with disabilities) might ultimately be used profitably.
dr L. Syd Johnson, associate professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities says:
If the ultimate goal is to use acquired brain data for other devices, or to use those devices for other things — say, to drive cars, to drive Teslas — then there could be a much, much larger market. But then all these human research subjects – people with real needs – are exploited and used in risky research for someone else’s commercial gain.
The scientists surveyed therefore all agree: Although the Neuralink brain chips could help many people with disabilities around the world, their potential for use by consumers raises “a multitude of ethical concerns”. Aside from commercial issues, how the data recovered from these chips will be treated worries many.
Concerns about the Neuralink brain chip, but also about Elon Musk
Some pundits also fear that Elon Musk will do whatever it takes to continue enriching himself. The scientists interviewed by the Daily Beast therefore asked themselves the following question: “We know that Elon Musk has already made big promises and then not kept them. Who can say that Neuralink won’t be another example?”.
dr Laura Cabrera, a neuroethics researcher at Penn State, told the journal:
With these companies and their owners, they are a kind of showmen. They’re going to make these exaggerated claims, and I think that’s dangerous because I think sometimes people blindly believe it. (…) I’m always cautious about what Elon Musk says.
Does this technology scare you on your part? We’ll let you answer this question via our poll and via our comments section! And if you want to know why, according to Marvel, Elon Musk would be the variant of Iron Man in our reality, you can consult our previous article on the subject.