If He Only Had a Brain

Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink approved for in-human study | Elon Musk | The Guardian

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-implant company, said on Thursday it had received a green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to kickstart its first in-human clinical study, a critical milestone after earlier struggles to gain approval.

Musk has predicted on at least four occasions since 2019 that his medical device company would begin human trials for a brain implant to treat severe conditions such as paralysis and blindness.

Yet the company, founded in 2016, only sought FDA approval in early 2022 – and the agency rejected the application, seven current and former employees told Reuters in March.

The FDA had pointed out several concerns to Neuralink that needed to be addressed before sanctioning human trials, according to the employees. Major issues involved the lithium battery of the device, the possibility of the implant’s wires migrating within the brain and the challenge of safely extracting the device without damaging brain tissue.

Thursday’s FDA approval comes as US lawmakers are urging regulators to investigate whether the make-up of a panel overseeing animal testing at Neuralink contributed to botched and rushed experiments.

Neuralink has already been the subject of federal investigations.

Last year, the USDA’s inspector general began investigating, at the request of a federal prosecutor, potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which governs how researchers treat and test certain types of animals. The company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, following experiments since 2018, Reuters previously reported.

The inquiry has also been looking at the USDA’s oversight of Neuralink.

In a tweet on Thursday, Neuralink said it is not yet open for a clinical trial.

“This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people,” the company said in a tweet on Thursday.

Over the years, Musk has publicly outlined an ambitious plan for Neuralink. He made headlines late last year when he said he was already so confident in the device’s safety that he would be willing to implant them in his own children.

Musk envisions both disabled and healthy individuals swiftly getting surgical implants at local centers. These devices aim to cure a range of conditions from obesity, autism, depression and schizophrenia, to enabling web browsing and telepathy.


30 thoughts on “If He Only Had a Brain”

  1. while elon’s at it, he might want to consider a heart implant too.

    Video from the movie “Wizard of Oz”. This clip was taken from the “Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition” DVD.

  2. his first candidate?

    Attribution: Failure to Launch by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian

  3. whether god, dr frankenstein or elon things often go awry. to wit:



    Attribution: The Creation of AI by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian


    Robotics researcher and AI expert Rodney Brooks is arguing that we’ve been vastly overestimating OpenAI’s large language models, on which its blockbuster chatbot ChatGPT is based on.

    In a terrific interview with IEEE Spectrum, Brooks argues that these tools are a lot stupider than we realize, not to mention a very far cry from being able to compete with humans at any given task on an intellectual level. Overall, he says, we’re guilty of a lot of sins of poorly predicting the future of AI.

    Long story short, is AI poised to become the sort of artificial general intelligence (AGI) that could operate at a similar intellectual level to humans?

    “No, because it doesn’t have any underlying model of the world,” Brooks told the publication. “It doesn’t have any connection to the world. It is correlation between language.”
    The researcher said that he’s been experimenting with large language models to help him with “arcane coding” — but ran into some serious trouble.

    “It gives an answer with complete confidence, and I sort of believe it,” Brooks told IEEE Spectrum. “And half the time, it’s completely wrong…

    Hmmmm, half the time it’s completely wrong?  Sounds like it’s better than many in the public eye. Kevin, are you listening?

  5. https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/24/health/walk-after-paralysis-with-implant-scn/index.html

    “Man with paralysis walks naturally after brain, spine implants.”

    “…the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne developed and implanted a “brain-spine interface” that creates a direct neurological link between the brain and spinal cord. Implants in the brain track intentions for movement, which are wirelessly transferred to a processing unit that a person wears externally, like a backpack. The intentions are translated into commands that the processing unit sends back through the second implant to stimulate muscles.”

    “Oskam said he can walk at least 100 meters (about 330 feet), depending on the day, and stand without using his hands for a few minutes.”

    “Oskam had been implanted with stimulation devices previously, but he had to make a movement to trigger the stimulation.”

    “Now, I can just do what I want, and when I decide to make a step, the stimulation will kick in”… this stimulation is different because Oskam has “full control over the parameter of stimulation, which means that he can stop, he can walk, he can climb up staircases.”

    “After surgeries to implant the devices, the neurological communication channels were established quickly. Oskam was taking steps within a day of training.”

    “And the connection has remained reliable for more than a year, including time Oskam spent at home. Walking independently with aid from the “digital bridge” has also helped him regain enough strength to take some steps even when it is turned off.”

    Someone beat Elon to the punch, and without ghoulishness.

  6. Indiana Medical Licensing Board goes stupid. WAPO

    Indiana’s medical licensing board decided late Thursday to discipline a doctor who made headlines last year for performing an abortion for a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim. The board gave the doctor a letter of reprimand and ordered her to pay a $3,000 fine for violating ethical standards and state laws by discussing the case with a reporter.

    Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita for nearly a year pursued punishment for Caitlin Bernard, an OB/GYN and an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine who carried out the abortion in June 2022, less than a week after Roe v. Wadewas struck down, enacting trigger laws.
    Bernard broke patient privacy laws by telling an Indianapolis Star reporter about the patient’s care, the board decided Thursday night following a roughly 14-hour hearing that ended shortly after 11:30 p.m. Bernard’s lawyers argued she properly reported the incident to an Indiana University Health social worker and did not run afoul of privacy laws when she discussed the patient’s case in a general and “deidentified” manner that is typical for doctors.

    Bernard sued Rokita last year, alleging in her suit his office relied on “facially invalid consumer complaints to justify multiple, duplicative, and overbroad investigations into law-abiding physicians.”

    An Indiana judge in December denied Bernard’s request to block Rokita’s efforts, saying it was a matter for the state licensing board. But Marion County Judge Heather Welch also said Rokita acted unlawfully by making public comments about investigating Bernard for potential wrongdoing — a violation of his office’s confidentiality requirements.

    Now that’s some irony right there.

  7. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/nikki-haley-2024-republican-candidate-vows-sign-federal-abortion-ban-elected-president

    “Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is pledging to sign a federal ban on abortion.”

    Nikki Hayley would force a 10-year old, rape victim to give attempt to give birth, probably dying in the process, because the rest of her body isn’t matured to withstand it.

    Nikki Hayley would force a woman who finds that the fetus she carries is missing bodily organs, only has a brain stem, or has some other malady that will not allow for development to come to term, she would force that woman to carry and deliver.

    Nikki Hayley would force a woman with an ectopic pregnancy to wait until her Fallopian tubes burst and she becomes septic to the point of medical emergency before getting abortion care (if it would even be allowed at that point), endangering her life and the possibility of future pregnancy.

    Nikki Hayley is not for universal health care.

    Nikki Hayley does not care what happens after a child is born; she doesn’t care if they are fed and housed, not if they are safe from gun violence.

    Nikki Hayley is neither a decent human being nor does she display any more of the Christian decency her counterparts claim.

    Nikki Hayley is a Republican and Republicans are fascist, misogynistic monsters. They keep writing their own ads against themselves.

    Biden/Harris 2024!

    ps- Nikki thinks RonDuh needs to differentiate himself from tRUMPsky, otherwise MAGAts will just vote for tRUMPsky. On that one, she has a point.

    Biden/Harris 2024!

  8. Alexandra and a few recommendations to tighten our (government) belts and avoid default. WAPO


    Send desperate emails to people who have donated to the government in the past, with subject lines like “Jillian, please” and “Now, Michael!”

    Replace the Education Department with ChatGPT! First, the students. Next, the whole department. We all know this is only a matter of time.

    The Energy Department can go solar.

    Sell more of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ChapStick? There’s apparently a six-figure market for his used cherry lip balm!

    I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  9. the hill:

    Club for Growth, a prominent conservative advocacy group, unveiled a new ad on Thursday attacking former President Trump over his plan for Social Security.
    The golf-themed ad, which was released ahead of a LIV Golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in D.C. this weekend, takes aim at the former president’s demand that “under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.”
    The Social Security trust fund is set to be depleted by 2033, at which point recipients could see their benefits cut by about 23 percent, according to a recent estimate by the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees.
    This has been cited by conservative groups in calls to reform the benefits programs before they go bankrupt.
    Biden has proposed increasing taxes on the wealthy to help shore up the benefits programs, a position that is popular with the left of his party widely dismissed by Republicans.

  10. https://www.americanprogress.org/article/tax-cuts-are-primarily-responsible-for-the-increasing-debt-ratio/

    “Without the Bush and Trump tax cuts, debt as a percentage of the economy would be declining permanently.”

    “Tax cuts initially enacted during Republican trifectas in the past 25 years slashed taxes disproportionately for the wealthy and profitable corporations, severely reducing federal revenues. In fact, relative to earlier projections, spending is down, not up. But revenues are down significantly more. If not for the Bush tax cuts4 and their extensions5—as well as the Trump tax cuts6—revenues would be on track to keep pace with spending indefinitely, and the debt ratio (debt as a percentage of the economy) would be declining.”

    “The George W. Bush administration, empowered by a trifecta in 2001, enacted sweeping tax cuts that will have cost more than $8 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2023.”

    “Donald Trump’s signature tax bill,26 enacted when Republicans gained control of the White House and both houses of Congress in 2017, will have cost roughly $1.7 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2023.”

    If Republicans are actually concerned about the budget, revoke tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Don’t take it out on veterans and senior citizens and children by trying to play this for political gain. There’s a way to fix it. Fix what caused it.

    Biden/Harris 2024!

  11. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/22/ron-desantis-police-relocation-violent-records

    “Numerous police officers lured to new jobs in Florida with cash from Governor Ron DeSantis’s flagship law enforcement relocation program have histories of excessive violence or have been arrested for crimes including kidnapping and murder since signing up, a study of state documents has found.”

    DuhSantis wants to make Florida uninhabitable. He wants to do the same thing with the entire country. Of course, he’s no different than any other Republican.

    Biden/Harris 2024!

  12. I’ve lived in Florida.   As Carl Hiassen has said, it’s FREAKY DEAKY, inside and out and from Top to Bottom. I give CC’s dad props for being able to live there productively and contentedly, but to be fair he probably had inside him the stuff of where he came from, not Florida stuff………cause Florida stuff is rotten.

    Just ONE weird thing from when I was there: You could pull off the road in your car, go thru the drive-thru at a bar, order and pick up a “Double scotch and Water, please” and drive on off down the road. Cars would be lined up, sometimes. THAT’S Freaky .

    Anyway, I see DeSantis as nothing but TYPICAL.

  13. One of those days when you just want to make a double martini and throw the olive at something.  I broke my main computer, sigh.  Maybe (a long shot) it will be revived once I take it all apart and put it back together.  Sigh. New parts are on order.  At least the computer that was replaced still works and is a good machine, just a lot slower than the new one.  Life is good, or will be in a short bit.
    News from the hallowed dome downtown (we locals call D.C. that) is the far right fascists are upset that their leader is giving away the store to President Biden and are planning some type of fight.  Bitch slap time coming up.  Of course very out in the open are those liberals who are concerned the president is giving away the store to the far right.  Never vote republican, never.

  14. NY mob guy vs Florida man.     That’s too freaky for contemplation. 
     I don’t know if DeSantis is all Florida or came there from somewhere else, but if he’s a “Come Yuh” as the Gullah folks say, he moved right in and picked it up like a native.

    [Google Happens]

    Oh, yeah, baby……….Jacksonville.

    Dyed in the wool.

  15. My friend’s brothers are big Trump fans. They had lunch at a Trump restaurant in Florida yesterday. This is what they ordered. I told my friend that I had never had a jackass burger before.

  16. Sturgeon – When I moved to TX, they had drive-thru beer barns (no hard liquor, but if you’re drunk in beer it wasn’t a problem?) on the way to the lake, but they also had a lot of dry counties.  

    In Dallas, every restaurant with a bar sold a “membership” for $5 and your first drink was free.  That “membership” card allowed them to sell alcohol in a dry county. 
    Everything was closed until noon on Sunday, even grocery stores.  They realized they were losing revenue some along the way, but you still can’t buy alcohol before noon on Sunday.

  17. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/03/ron-desantis-insurance-industry-donors-florida-governor

    “DeSantis, who ran a successful re-election campaign last year, and Friends of Ron DeSantis, a political action committee that supported him, have taken a combined $3.9m in contributions from insurance industry players. If donations to the Republican party of Florida since 1 January 2019 – days before DeSantis assumed office – are added, this total swells to more than $9.9m.”

    “It is no coincidence, the report’s authors suggest, that DeSantis’s administration has put the insurance companies’ interests ahead of Florida’s own citizens, who are battling homeowner insurance rates nearly triple the national average.”

    “Usually, insurance companies buy such coverage on the open market but, in Florida, DeSantis chose to use tax dollars to provide access to a state-subsidised insurance fund.”

    “Second, the Florida legislature passed a bill that stripped policyholders of the ability to recover legal fees when suing insurance companies that refuse to honour legitimate claims. DeSantis trumpeted the signing of this bill on his official webpage.”

    “The authors draw a contrast with Louisiana, which they say has a more robust property casualty insurance market despite similar hurricane risks. Unlike DeSantis’s insurance industry handouts, they contend, Louisiana conditions its subsidies to the insurance industry on increased participation in the state property insurance market.”

    “Where is the governor? Well, he has picked sides: when given the choice of helping Florida’s working families or doing the bidding of the insurance lobby, Ron DeSantis puts his donors first. This report joins the dots. We can’t allow DeSantis to dismantle the livelihoods of millions of Floridians in the service of corporate interests.”

  18. https://www.texastribune.org/2023/05/26/ken-paxton-impeach-republican-defense/

    “Donald Trump Jr., conservative Republicans ride to Ken Paxton’s defense on eve of impeachment vote.”

    “Gov. Greg Abbott has remained silent, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who would preside over an impeachment trial in the Senate, has said it would be improper for him to weigh in.”

    “National Republicans are filling the void, however. While former President Donald Trump — a Paxton ally who endorsed his campaign before last year’s GOP primary — has not commented, his son Donald Trump Jr. said Friday that the investigation into “America First patriot Ken Paxton” is a “disgrace.”

    “MAGA stands with Ken Paxton against this RINO/DEMO led witch hunt!!!” Trump Jr. tweeted.

    “…apathy toward Paxton’s 2015 indictments on two counts of felony securities fraud has been echoed by other supporters who have dismissed the House committee’s investigation as old hat.”

    “In a memo to lawmakers, the General Investigating Committee stressed that its investigation was prompted by Paxton’s request earlier this year for the Legislature [tax payers] to pay $3.3 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by four agency executives who were fired after reporting their concerns about Paxton’s actions to law enforcement.”

  19. https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/maddowblog/key-flaw-ted-cruzs-partisan-take-civil-rights-history-rcna86008

    “It didn’t come as too big of a surprise when the NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida this past weekend.”

    “A day later, however, Sen. Ted Cruz thought it’d be a good idea to admonish the civil rights organization in a tweet: …Today, Dr. King would be ashamed of how profoundly they’ve lost their way.”

    ~”Yes, the far-right Republican from Texas wants Americans to believe that he knows what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would be thinking right now, and the iconic leader of the civil rights movement would be “ashamed” of the NAACP.”~

    “If this sounds at all familiar, it’s a point Cruz seems to enjoy periodically emphasizing. Around this time two years ago, for example, the Texan argued that Democrats created Jim Crow. A few years earlier, the senator told Fox News, “The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan.”

    “The Democratic Party, in the first half of the 20th century, was home to two broad competing constituencies: Southern whites with abhorrent and indefensible views on race, and white progressives and African Americans in the North, who sought to advance the cause of civil rights. The party struggled with this conflict for years, before ultimately siding with an inclusive, progressive agenda.”

    “After “Dixiecrats” began their exodus in 1948, and in the wake of a Democratic president signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Republican Party welcomed segregationists who no longer felt comfortable in the Democratic Party. Indeed, in 1964, Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater boasted of his opposition to the Civil Rights Act and made it part of his national platform.”

    “Which matters more in contemporary politics: that segregationists were Southern Democrats or that segregationists made a new home in the Republican Party in the latter half of the 20th century?”

  20. https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2023/05/18/oregon-senate-walkout-update-10-senators-ineligible-for-another-term/70232986007/

    “Oregon Senate walkout continues as 6 more Republicans banned from re-election”

    “The Oregon Senate failed to reach quorum again Thursday, meaning six additional Republican senators have now disqualified themselves from running for reelection under Article IV, Section 15 of the Oregon Constitution.”

    That makes 10!

    “Republicans are calling the walkout a “peaceful, constitutional protest” against deeply partisan bills. Votes have been blocked on House Bill 2002, a bill surrounding abortion and gender-affirming care.”

    “They said they have asked Republican leadership to give them a “wish list” of demands. They’ve failed to do so, Lieber said, and instead continued to provide a kill list of bills they want killed.”

    “HB 2005 would raise the possession and purchase age limit on certain guns, allow local governments to prohibit concealed firearms in their public buildings and grounds, and prohibit unserialized ghost guns. SJR 33 and SB 27 are tied together, relating to a proposed constitutional amendment surrounding marriage protections for same-sex couples and abortion.”

  21. Tax cuts for the wealthy costs trillions of dollars, but Republicans want to protect them. 
    Republicans want to go after benefits like SNAP so folks, many of them children or the elderly, depend on to eat; that costs only a few billion dollars.  
    Wait, do Republicans actually care about children and families?  Nope.   Do they actually care about Pride flags in Target, or is that a distraction? Maybe.

  22. So, the GQP Indiana attorney general that referred to the medical review board the doctor who provided an abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim says the reason he referred that doctor is for violating patient confidentiality, while simultaneously trying to advance policy that would impose government scrutiny/criminal-prosecution on families’ private healthcare decisions.  What a disingenuous asshole.

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