Elon Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink is hoping to start human trials in 2023. After years of research and development, the technology was on track for human testing, but those trials may be delayed further by a mass investigation.
Last year, Neuralink was accused of dangerous animal testing that abused animals more than regulations allow. Now, the company is under investigation for its failure to protect its animal subjects.
The new investigation focuses on violations of the Animal Welfare Act, delving into the treatment of the company’s monkeys and other test subjects.
In a report by Reuters, it was revealed that the company is undergoing a federal probe. Through a number of internal documents and employee interviews, the outlet revealed concerning details regarding rushed tests and animal abuse.
The report states that increased pressure from CEO Elon Musk has resulted in a number of “botched experiments”. Furthermore, the aforementioned botched tests have been repeated over time leading to increased deaths of animal subjects.
Reuters claims that over 1,500 animals have been killed from Neuralink testing since 2018. Including pigs, sheep and its highly-advertised monkeys, the brain implant’s experiments have allegedly caused excess death of test subjects. However, not all 1,500 animals are expected to have died from violations in animal testing.
Employees of the company claim that a large number of deaths have been avoidable. Allegedly, four different experiments resulted in the deaths of 88 animals that were caused by human mistakes, but due to those mistakes a repeat experiment was conducted. More animals died.
Despite the botched experiments and animal rights violations, Elon Musk is still asking employees to speed up research and experiments. In an email, Musk told staff: “we are simply not moving fast enough. It is driving me nuts!”
On the other hand, Neuralink employees have pitched more traditional, safer testing methods. However, managers blamed Musk’s constant push for faster development on the company’s current issues.
Elon Musk continues to sing the praises of Neuralink brain chips. The technology is designed to help paralysed people interface with technology, but Musk has promised the chips will combine humanity with artificial intelligence. In fact, the CEO has claimed that he will implant himself with the brain chip when it’s ready for humans.
The variety of human errors on the brain chip experiments is staggering. Some experiments are said to have fitted animals with chips that were not the right size for them, leading to health issues. Others have fitted the chips into the wrong part of animals, leading to death.
The speed at which research has been demanding is tiring for workers and deadly for test subjects. Instead, the current state of the company’s research seems to be only designed to incorporate pain, misery and death.