Former employees claim the demanding timelines for Elon Musk’s Neuralink create a “pressure cooker” working environment.
In a special STAT report, former staff members revealed about the startup of brain implant chips and its problems. They claim that the progress reported on the event will come at a cost. The billionaire will “fire up” some neurons on August 28.
A former employee told STAT that Neuralink performed surgical procedures on rats and monkeys. The tests disregarded the risk to animals identified by his system.
Scientists are constantly working on a “pressure cooker” with just weeks to perfect specific research that takes time to complete. This leads to internal conflicts as science could not keep pace with Musk’s strict schedule.
Neuralink created tiny flexible “threads” are 10 times thinner than a human hair. The chip intends to treat brain injuries and trauma. It will also allow future symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence (AI). Musk claims it is probable in 25 years. The CEO founded the neurotechnology company in 2016.
Neuralink’s identity crisis
In May, Musk assured Joe Rogan that a prototype would be available for clinical testing within one year. The former staff said Neuralink eyes to begin the clinical test in China or Russia because it’s hard to continue through a tight US regulatory procedure.
The implant is done by removing a small chunk of the skull and replacing it with a device resembling a smartwatch. A small robot stitches the hole up and connects the threads of the electrodes to certain brain areas. Although it costs between $10 million and $20 million for the ‘sewing device,’ it can now be produced for just $500,000.
The big revelation remains still a mystery. Still, one person told STAT that Neuralink could share that it focuses on the primary motor cortex as the chip’s main location.
Another suggests the company will demonstrate the implant in a monkey, which will move the computer cursor with its mind on a computer screen.
When Neuralink creates a medical system and establishes a clinical method for the medical device implant, the software industry method to “moving quickly and smashing stuff” is not practical. Tension is generated by the dual identity of the organization as a technological corporation and a medical business.
It also has a demanding culture that has consistently “completely overwhelmed” the demands of employees. This ultimately results in conflicts between neuroscientists and engineers arguing about strategies and leadership. Unfortunately, should disputes arose, Musk will typically side with the developers, according to many former employees.
Neuralink has not yet made a comment regarding the report. Although Neuralink has yet to show what it was working on, some details have been shared by Musk.
He spoke about his newborn baby on Rogan’s podcast in May, and gave some fresh information about starting the brain chip. When asked about the risks of placing a foreign object inside the body, Musk said there is ‘a very low potential risk of rejection.’