Elon Musk‘s company Neuralink announced late today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave it the green light to experiment with implanting brain chips in humans.
We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!
This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our…
— Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023
The company, founded in 2016 and primarily funded by billionaire Musk, develops electronic implants that decode brain activity and communicate it to computers. While other companies have used brain implants to assist people with debilitating medical conditions like paralysis and ALS, Neuralink’s brain chips have only been used in monkeys.
But that will soon change.
Musk has said, “I think we have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury.” But he and the company also want to take the technology a step further — maximizing the potential of healthy people to keep up with artificial intelligence.
“We want to surpass able-bodied human performance with our technology,” Neuralink tweeted last month.
Related: Elon Musk’s Neuralink Is Under Investigation for Allegedly Jeopardizing Human Safety
‘The future is going to be weird.’
Musk said he envisions a world where patients can drop by clinics to have a chip surgically implanted into their brains by a robot. “You’ll be able to save and replay memories,” he said at a show-and-tell presentation last year. “The future is going to be weird.”
He also predicts customers will want to upgrade their brain chips to the latest models regularly.
“I’m pretty sure you would not want the iPhone 1 stuck in your head if the iPhone 14 is available,” Musk said.
Musk is so confident that the devices are safe that he would be willing to implant them in his children.
It is still unclear if the brain implants will pass the rigorous FDA trial stage. Still, the announcement is a significant step forward for Musk’s business empire and brain-computer interface technology.