- Elon Musk’s Neuralink is seeking candidates for its first human trials.
- Neuralink wants to test their brain chips on people with cervical spinal cord injuries or ALS.
- The company is under federal investigation for animal welfare abuses while conducting animal tests.
Elon Musk’s neural interface technology company Neuralink is recruiting candidates for its first human clinical trials.
Neuralink said in a Tuesday announcement that the study would evaluate the safety of their implants and surgical robots.
Neuralink said their initial goal with the trial “is to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”
The company added that the trial is targeted at those who have quadriplegia due to a cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a neuromuscular disease that progressively destroys the nervous system and inhibits muscle control.
Musk founded Neuralink in 2016 with a team of scientists and engineers. Musk has lofty hopes for the company’s work — he said in 2019 that he hoped it could help mankind achieve “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”
At a company event last year, Musk said he would test Neuralink’s brain chips on himself when human trials begin.
“You could have a Neuralink device implanted right now, and you wouldn’t even know. I mean, hypothetically,” Musk said. “In one of these demos, in fact, in one of these demos, I will.”
It’s unclear if Musk is going to be part of these early tests on human subjects.
Neuralink received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in May to embark on human trials. Thus far, Neuralink has only run tests on animals like pigs and monkeys.
In December 2022, Reuters reported that Neuralink is under federal investigation for animal welfare abuses. Roughly 1,500 animals —including sheep, pigs, and monkeys — have been killed since testing began in 2018, per Reuters.
“At Neuralink, we are absolutely committed to working with animals in the most humane and ethical way possible,” the company said in a blog post published in February 2022.
Representatives for Neuralink did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.