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GreekReporter.comScienceNeuralink's First Patient Controls Mouse by Thinking, Musk Says

Neuralink’s First Patient Controls Mouse by Thinking, Musk Says

Neuralink Elon Musk
A robot surgically placed the implants’ threads that help transmit signals in the participants’ brains. Credit: Apoliticnow, CC2

Elon Musk said on Monday that the first human patient implanted with a brain chip from Neuralink appears to have fully recovered and can control a computer mouse using only thoughts.

“Progress is good, and the patient seems to have made a full recovery, with neural effects that we are aware of,” Musk said in a Spaces event on social media platform X. “Patient is able to move a mouse around the screen by just thinking.”

Musk said Neuralink was now trying to get as many mouse button clicks as possible from the patient.

The firm successfully implanted a chip on its first human patient last month. Neuralink received FDA clearance last year for its first trial to test the company’s implant in humans, a critical milestone for the startup.

The study uses a robot to surgically place a brain-computer interface implant in a region of the brain that controls the intention to move, Neuralink has said, adding that the initial goal is to enable people to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts.

Elon Musk’s vision for Neuralink and its critics

Elon Musk believes Neuralink has the potential to become one of the most important technologies of our time. He envisions a future in which implantable brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are as ubiquitous as smartphones, and they have the potential to change the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us.

His supporters say BCIs could help individuals with paralysis or other neurological conditions regain control over their limbs and movement. They also argue they could enhance our cognitive abilities, allowing us to learn faster and retain more information.

BCI’s could provide a direct pathway to the vast repository of information on the internet, allowing us to learn and explore at an unprecedented pace.

However, Elon Musk’s project has many critics, including the potential for infections and brain damage. Implanting electrodes into the brain carries inherent risks of infection, inflammation, and damage to brain tissue. Critics argue that Neuralink has not adequately addressed these safety concerns or presented long-term safety data.

BCIs could potentially collect and transmit a vast amount of personal and sensitive information about individuals’ thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Concerns arise about the potential for misuse of this data, including surveillance, discrimination, and manipulation.

The ability to control or enhance human cognition and behavior raises profound ethical questions. Critics worry about the potential for creating a divide between those with and without BCIs, as well as the ethical implications of altering human consciousness and free will.

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