(Commonwealth Union)_ Musk updated the timeframe during a livestreamed presentation on Wednesday, three years after introducing Neuralink and promising to start human trials of its brain implant by the end of 2020—a target that was covertly missed and forgone in favour of continuing animal studies. He predicted that by the middle of 2023, the business may finally begin implanting people, lagging Synchron by approximately a year.
“We’ve been hard at work getting ready for our first human,” Musk stated. “Obviously, we want to be really careful and ensure that it will operate properly before putting our device in a human, but we’ve submitted, I believe, the most of our paperwork to the FDA, and we think we should be able to have our first Neuralink in a human in about six months.”
In addition, the CEO may become an early adopter of the technology. “I could have a Neuralink device inserted right now, and you wouldn’t even know,” he remarked, referring to the implant’s small size. When that was welcomed with applause, he said, “Maybe one of these demos—in fact, one of these demos, I will.”
In order to stimulate both mental and physical activity, the Neuralink implant is made to replace a removed portion of the skull by matching its size and thickness. Musk used his oft-used analogy to describe the device during his presentation on Wednesday. He said it was similar to inserting an Apple Watch or Fitbit in a portion of the skull.
Neuralink will prioritise its first two applications once it has the FDA’s approval to start conducting human studies, according to Musk. Restoring vision is the first step. “We think we can still restore vision, even if someone has never had vision—like, they were born blind,” he said. “The visual component of the cortex is still there.”
Neuralink, a contentious and experimental brain computing firm founded by Elon Musk, conducted a live presentation to show the world that its technology is secure and getting near to practical human trials.
Musk stated during the event that human clinical trials for Neuralink’s brain chip technology might start as early as next year. However, Neuralink staff members pointed out during the demo that the Food and Drug Administration is still quite sceptical about the safety of their technology, which is currently awaiting critical approval.
There was another message hidden behind the extensive explanations of how Neuralink’s numerous technologies (such as surgical robots and electrode implants) function: Neuralink really, really wants you to work there.
“I want to underline once more that the major aim of this update is recruiting,” Musk stated during the demonstration.
Though situated in Fremont, it’s probable that there will be a slew of SoCal-based applicants eager to join Musk’s team, especially considering the number of local colleges with strong engineering and neuroscience programmes that continue to produce well-qualified young grads, like as USC and UCLA.
Given Musk’s aversion to remote work, it doesn’t appear that Neuralink provides work-from-home opportunities, though its job listings do mention commuting advantages. Furthermore, Neuralink has raised $373 million since its inception in 2016, so it has some funds set aside for team-building.
On Neuralink’s job website, more than 60 job postings are currently active. The majority of them are positions for software and “brain interface” engineers, as well as for surgical and robotics engineering technicians. The company is stepping up its efforts to conduct experiments on animals other than monkeys, meanwhile, and is now hiring a veterinarian, electricians, and a clinical research coordinator.
Breck Yunits, a software engineer from Long Beach who previously worked for Microsoft, claimed in a Neuralink “ask me anything” (AMA) thread on Reddit that he had gone through five interviews before being turned down for a position as a software engineer for web apps.
When asked if the intense interview process was typical in his profession, Yunits responded, “I’ve never had that many interviews. However, I’m not grumbling because I had a great time meeting these people and thought they were wonderful.”