Startup Neuralink, controlled by billionaire Elon Musk, is being investigated by US federal authorities for potential animal rights violations, Reuters reports.
According to inside sources at the firm, tests and procedures are being rushed, causing unnecessary suffering to animals. The firm has reportedly killed more than 1,500 animals so far, including 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys.
Neuralink wants to develop a brain implant that could help paralyzed people walk again or, later, allow people to improve their cognitive performance.
The investigation was opened by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the request of a federal prosecutor. The startup allegedly violated provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, which outlines how animal testing and research must be done.
According to employees Reuters spoke to, Neuralink researchers are under pressure from Elon Musk to move forward more quickly with the development of the implant. Because of countless failures, many tests have been repeated on other animals, and the number of casualties has increased substantially.
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Elon Musk and the people who run the company did not respond to Reuters questions.
Neuralink wants to connect people’s brains to computers
Neuralink has announced that it wants to develop special implants in the future that will allow people to connect to computers. According to Musk, there will be the ability for people to download their thoughts, knowledge and memories, then store them so they can be accessed in the future.
At the same time, according to the billionaire, human brains will be able to assimilate vast amounts of information in a very short time. Thus, humans will be able to connect to a computer via an implant, and within seconds or minutes they will become experts in botany or anatomy.
Musk believes these technologies are necessary for humans to compete in the future with robots endowed with artificial intelligence.