An experiment involving Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain chips was conducted back in 2017 to 2020 at the University of California Davis. The recipients of the brain chips were 23 monkeys, and recent reports that surfaced state that at least 15 of these monkeys have died.
A bit of context before we get into the heavier matter – Neuralink was founded in 2016 whose goal was to help patients with brain and spinal cord ailments or even cure mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and more. Additionally, in light of technological advancement, these chips also hoped to connect humans to the internet and provide cool features such as telepathic communication and mind-music streaming. Now, it has been successful in allowing a macaque play Pong with its mind, but it has also yielded failed results elsewhere.
According to Business Insider and the New York Post, the information was given by a non-profit animal-rights group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. They shared that they have reviewed over 700 pages of documents, veterinary records, and even the necropsy reports through a public records request at the university.
“Pretty much every single monkey that had implants put in their head suffered from pretty debilitating health effects,” said PCRM research advocacy director Jeremy Beckham. This basically means these animals gradually got weaker as they went on with the experiment.
How were the chips implanted? The answer to that is simple – they implanted the chips by drilling holes into the monkey’s skull. An autopsy report described a monkey vomiting uncontrollably after its surgery due to brain hemorrhage; and this is one of the reports that covered the side-effects that the monkeys subsequently got after the operation, like bloody skin infection, self-harm, and more among other things.
PCRM did file a complaint with the U.S Department of Agriculture which accused the university and Neuralink of nine violations of the Animal Welfare Act. UC Davis shared the following:
“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 spokesperson did share that they have stopped working with Neuralink in 2020, but the public still awaits a response from Neuralink itself on this matter.
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