1. Elon Musk's brain-implant company Neuralink has received regulatory approval to conduct the first clinical trial of its experimental device in humans.
2. Concerns have been raised about Musk's leadership record, animal welfare concerns relating to Neuralink experiments, and the broad scope of capabilities promised by the device.
3. The FDA approval comes amid ongoing investigations of Neuralink from multiple government agencies and members of Congress, including an inquiry from the Department of Agriculture over allegations of animal abuse and the Department of Transportation over mishandling of bio-hazardous materials across state lines.
The article "Elon Musk’s brain implant company is approved for human testing. How alarmed should we be?" by The Guardian raises concerns about Neuralink's ability to responsibly oversee the development of an invasive medical device capable of reading brain signals. The article highlights the animal welfare concerns relating to Neuralink experiments, Musk's erratic leadership at Twitter, and his "move fast" techie ethos that raise questions about the company's ability to handle highly sensitive data extracted from participants in its eventual clinical trials.
The article also notes that while Neuralink is not the first or only company working on brain interface devices, the broad scope of capabilities Musk is promising from the Neuralink device have garnered skepticism from experts. The article cites John Donoghue, a neuroscientist at Brown University who led the team that developed BrainGate to restore movement for people with paralysis, who said he doesn't like the hyped-up marketing and thinks it dismisses the level of complexity of tackling each condition.
However, the article does not present both sides equally and focuses more on potential risks than benefits. It mentions that thousands use neuroprosthetics like cochlear implants for hearing but does not delve into how such devices have improved people's lives. Additionally, while it notes ongoing investigations of Neuralink from multiple government agencies and members of Congress over allegations of animal cruelty and mishandling bio-hazardous materials across state lines, it does not mention any positive steps taken by Neuralink to address these concerns.
Overall, while raising valid concerns about Neuralink's development process and potential risks associated with brain implants, this article could benefit from presenting a more balanced view that includes potential benefits as well as risks.