Science & Tech

Former Elon Musk employee speaks out on 'ridiclous' death of Neuralink's monkeys

Former Elon Musk employee speaks out on 'ridiclous' death of Neuralink's monkeys
Elon Musk's Neuralink Is Seeking Partners for Human Testing of Brain Implants
Cheddar / VideoElephant

A new report from Wiredhas alleged that Elon Musk's Neuralink - a neurotechnology company developing a brain-computer interface - euthanised the company's macaque subjects after they suffered various complications from the implant. The report comes after human-test subjects were recently approved for Neuralink's clinical trial.

Elon Musk had claimed earlier this month that "no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant, but public documents obtained by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and seen by Wired, suggest that the primate subjects suffered complications including "bloody diarrhoea, partial paralysis, and cerebral edema."

Musk had acknowledged the deaths on September 10 on Twitter/X, denying the deaths were "a result of a Neuralink implant", and that researchers had selected subjects who were already "close to death." However an anonymous former employee called this "ridiculous" if not a "straight fabrication."

However, the public records reviewed by Wired suggest a different story. The PCRM, a nonprofit aiming to abolish live animal testing, claim that Musk knew his comments about the primate subjects deaths "to be false". They write that investors deserve to hear the truth about the safety, "and thus the marketability," of Neuralink's product.

A December 2019 experiment outlined in one of the documents mentioned a subject known as Animal 15. The documents said that the subject "began to press her head against the floor for no apparent reason" just days after receiving the implant. Her condition only worsened as she "began to lose coordination" and "would shake uncontrollably when she saw lab workers." Staff finally euthanised her months later.

Last year, the PCRM filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging that Neuralink's practices violate the Animal Welfare Act. The US Department of Transportation is also investigating Neuralink over allegations contimanted devices that were removed from monkeys' brains were illegally transported.

Indy100 have reached out to Neuralink for comment.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)