After Elon Musk gave a rare public demo of his secretive project Neuralink, the world was taken by a surprise with a split. One part was amazed, the other paranoid.
One of the recent dissents for Musk’s Neuralink came from global animal rights charity – People for Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA who slammed the billionaire’s project highlighting the involvement of animals.
Neuralink, a pioneering startup that is developing brain-to-machine interface, recently demonstrated the high-tech chip into pig’s brain and was shown in the public reveal.
Three pigs were bought for the demonstration and one of the pigs called Gertrude was used to giving a live demo and onlookers got to see Gertrude’s real-time neuron activity firing in his brain on a display.
But as futuristic the demonstration was for some, it certainly did not fare well with PETA. President Ingrid Newkirk in a statement said: “PETA challenges Elon Musk to behave like a pioneer and implant the Neuralink chip in his own brain,” Futurism reports.
“Musk has the brains and ability to use technology, why not wise up to who animals are and show them some respect and try this on himself,” Newkirk added.
The animal rights activist leader also said Musk should refrain from using the smart, sensitive pigs who did not volunteer for the experiment.
Elon Musk’s project received FDA approval for the ‘Breakthrough Device Program.’ Futurism noted, Musk’s other projects like SpaceX and Tesla do not directly depend on animal testing but Neuralink does wade directly into the territory – not everybody will casually let their skull drilled and thin filaments inserted into their brains. Musk, however, confirmed, the surgical procedure to implant is minimal and safe.
“If we’re going to figure out things for people, then pigs are a good choice,” Musk said, without mincing words. “If the device is lasting in the pig, as it lasted in there for two months and going strong, then that’s a good sign the device is robust for people,” he added.
“He knew there was going to be a backlash against his use of pigs, and had the nerve to come out with a PR reel in which his lab staff talk about how much they care for the animals he uses,” PETA statement read.