Neuralink Faces Scrutiny Over First Telepathy Brain Chip Installment

By Michael Pascual 

April 4, 2024

Billionaire Elon Musk has become somewhat infamous over the past few years, as the head of multi-billion dollar projects like Tesla and SpaceX. Recently, his new project “Neuralink” has had a breakthrough, with twenty-nine year old Noland Arbaugh being the first person receiving a “telepathy” chip in their brain. Arbaugh was unfortunately in a diving accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down, so he is hoping the chip will eventually let him regain control of his body. But what exactly does this chip do?

Currently, the chip only allows the user to do very minor things, like move a mouse across the screen by just thinking about it. Eventually, Musk hopes that the neurochips will be able to cure paralysis and other neurological diseases, such as Arbaugh’s paralysis. 

Photo credit: Daily Mail

The chip works by using incredibly thin threads that have over a thousand electrodes (electrical conductors) attached to them. Eventually, these threads will use the body’s neurons to send signals across the entire body, which control the vast majority of human operations. 

The company has also faced a great deal of scrutiny regarding how they test the telepathy chips and handle the necessary materials. The company has made use of monkeys for testing, and the animals have experienced some very concerning side effects, such as seizures, paralysis, and brain swelling, putting the morality of the project into question. Musk also received a sizable fine from the United States SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), due to the transportation of poorly packaged dangerous materials, such as the incredibly flammable Xylene. 

Despite the company’s recent advancements, the public does not appear to be particularly excited about the new technology. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, about 78% of Americans do not want to have neurochips, while only 20% are comfortable with it. As for Arbaugh, he is doing well, with no negative side effects reported so far, according to the company.