Elon Musk is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer of SpaceX, as well as the co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI. Musk is also the world‘s richest person. It has recently been reported that 15 of the 23 monkeys implanted with Elon Musk’s Neuralink Brain Chips have died.

The news comes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an animal-rights organisation that viewed over 700 pages of documents, veterinary records, and necropsy reports through a public records request at the university, according to Business Insider and the New York Post.

Neuralink was founded in 2016 with the intention of assisting people in recovering from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, curing depression and other mental health disorders, and connecting humans to the internet for purposes ranging from music streaming to near-telepathic communication. The company has frequently touted its accomplishments, such as a pig demonstration in 2020 and a video of a macaque playing Pong with its mind in 2021.

Celebrities such as Grimes and Lil Uzi Vert have expressed interest in the project, and people suffering from paralysis frequently petition Musk on social media to be a part of human trials. Musk had previously stated that he hoped to begin human trials in 2021, but that target has now been pushed back to 2022. According to the PCRM’s findings, the brain chips are not yet ready.

“Pretty much every single monkey that had had implants put in their head suffered from pretty debilitating health effects,” said the PCRM’s research advocacy director Jeremy Beckham. “They were, frankly, maiming and killing the animals.”

Drilling holes in the monkeys’ skulls allowed Neuralink chips to be implanted. One primate became ill with a bloody skin infection and had to be euthanized. Another was found with missing fingers and toes, “possibly from self-mutilation or some other unspecified trauma,” and had to be euthanized. A third patient began vomiting uncontrollably shortly after surgery and “appeared to collapse from exhaustion/fatigue” a few days later. An autopsy revealed that the animal died as a result of a brain haemorrhage.

On Thursday, the PCRM filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture, accusing UC Davis and Neuralink of nine violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

“Many, if not all, of the monkeys experienced extreme suffering as a result of inadequate animal care and the highly invasive experimental head implants during the experiments, which were performed in pursuit of developing what Neuralink and Elon Musk have publicly described as a ‘brain-machine interface.'”

“These highly invasive implants and their associated hardware, which are inserted in the brain after drilling holes in the animals’ skulls, have produced recurring infections in the animals, significantly compromising their health, as well as the integrity of the research.”

A UC Davis spokesperson responded to the complaint.

“We strive to provide the best possible care to animals in our charge. Animal research is strictly regulated, and UC Davis follows all applicable laws and regulations including those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

The university’s collaboration with Neuralink ended in 2020, according to the spokesperson. Neuralink has yet to respond. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.

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Shivangini Rawat

Shivangini is presently pursuing her LLB degree. She has a lot of dreams for the future, and she's working hard to achieve them. Thirstyfornews was one such chance that enabled her to take a step forward. Apart from her ambitions and academics, Shivangini enjoys cooking and baking. She is also a great music fan. Her favorite bands are Alcest, Thy Light, Scorpions, AC/DC, Motorhead. She also loves playing a variety of instruments. Movies, TV shows, and anime are always on her to-do list, especially on weekends.

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