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Elon Musk’s brain chip firm

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The reason behind a co-founder of Neuralink quitting Elon Musk’s brain chip firm

In a recent interview, Dr. Benjamin Rapoport appeared to imply that he quit Neuralink due of safety concerns.

Would you allow Elon Musk to make mental changes to you? If his brain-computer interface business Neuralink is successful, that is a question that we may all have to answer in the future. Nonetheless, what one of the Neuralink co-founders recently stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to those who are prepared to put up their hands for brain surgery.

A recent interview for the Wall Street Journal podcast The Future of Everything featured Dr. Benjamin Rapoport, a neurosurgeon who co-founded Neuralink in 2016 alongside Elon Musk and a group of academics. We found that Rapoport’s statement during the interview about starting his own firm, Precision Neuroscience, after leaving Neuralink, was very noteworthy. in particular, the passage Rapoport seems to imply he fled due of safety concerns.

Together with Elon Musk, you co-founded Neuralink before departing to form Precision. Why did you choose to depart and start a new business? In the broadcast from May 3, Danny Lewis of the Wall Street Journal questioned.

Bringing neural interfaces from research to medicine has essentially been my whole professional life’s work. However, I believed that safety must come first in order to go into the fields of technology and medicine, Dr. Rapaport stated.

Safety for a medical gadget often entails minimum invasiveness, according to Rapaport. And in the early days of brain-computer interfaces, there was this idea that one needed to penetrate the brain with tiny little needle-like electrodes in order to extract information-rich data from the brain.

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On the episode, Dr. Rapaport went on to clarify that there is a significant disadvantage to this approach. Some degree of brain damage is caused when they are inserted into the brain. That’s obviously not the best situation. Furthermore, Rapaport asserts that he thought it was feasible to extract information-rich data from the brain without harming it.

Dr. Rapaport continues by stating that this is the guiding principle of Precision Neuroscience. When creating neural interfaces, it was imperative to have minimal invasiveness, scalability, and safety in mind. And he thinks that’s what distinguishes his business from Neuralink.

Penetrating microelectrodes are the foundation of the Neuralink technology. Surface microelectrodes—tiny electrodes that cover the brain’s surface without piercing it—are the foundation of the Precision system, according to Rapaport.

In the last ten years, significant advancements in brain-computer interfaces have made it possible for humans to physically operate machines with their thoughts. Musk’s Neuralink and other companies often make the news, but there are other companies as well, such as Synchron, Paradromics, and Precision Neuroscience. Additionally, everyone of them has their own beliefs about how much intrusiveness is acceptable.

Over the years, Neuralink has drawn a lot of criticism. In 2020, the MIT Technology Review referred to it as neuroscience theater, and in 2022, terrible claims of torturing monkeys were made public. A Neuralink facility recorded 15 monkey deaths between 2017 and 2020, according to a complaint submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, Musk denied that the monkeys at the Neuralink facilities suffered horrifying deaths, asserting that they were living in a monkey paradise.

Even though Neuralink is involved, this critique hasn’t prevented many from being enthusiastic about the potential of brain-computer interfaces. The business just published a video showing a Neuralink patient using his thoughts to play video games. And a good number of individuals on social media are willing for Musk to give them access to cutting-edge brain-computer interface technology.

On Sunday, Gizmodo attempted to contact Dr. Rapoport via Precision Neuroscience’s website, but received no response. If we hear back from you, we will update this article. Neuralink did not reply to a Monday email either.


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