Patient with Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain-chip uses ‘telepathy’ to play chess

Footage from Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain chip has been revealed, showing off a man’s new “telepathic” abilities.

Musk’s Neuralink tech aims to enable someone to control their phone or another device with their mind, according to the CEO.

Musk reposted a Neuralink video from the first of his human testers demonstrating the tech on Wednesday.

“Livestream of @Neuralink demonstrating ‘Telepathy’ – controlling a computer and playing video games just by thinking,” his caption read.

In the video, the tester, 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh narrates his experience playing an electronic chess game on a large screen.

Arbaugh became paraplegic following a “freak diving accident,” that dislocated two of his vertebrae causing him to be paralysed from the neck down, he explained in the video.

The company has previously said that the Neuralink mission is to restore autonomy to individuals who have “unmet medical needs,” with a vision to “unlock human potential” in the future.

Having received FDA clearance for its first human clinical trials in May 2023, Arbaugh is the first of six individuals approved to test the chip after hundreds of animal tests.

In the video, he shows off his chess skills without ever touching the computer it is being hosted on.

“See that cursor on the screen? That’s all me … it’s all brainpower,” he said while an accompanying Neuralink engineer panned to the computerised chess game.

Arbaugh then jumped into how he began learning to use the brain chip.

“So we started out by trying a few different things,” he began.

“We basically went from what we’d call ‘imagined movement’, versus ‘attempted movement’, and we started out with attempting to move.”

“This entailed thinking about moving his computer cursor left and right, and from there, it just became intuitive for me,” finished the tester in explanation.

Insane first look at Musk’s brain-chip patient

Arbaugh has been paralysed since 2016 when he was injured while working at a children’s summer camp, having “absolutely no feeling” from the shoulders down ever since.

“This is one of the things that y’all have enabled me to do … I wasn’t really able to do much the last few years,” he said of Neuralink.

The tester went on to explain the feeling he had when he had first gotten results while attempting to move the computer mouse telepathically.

“It would just move to where I wanted it to, it was such a wild experience … it’s crazy, it’s crazy,’ he recalled.

“I’m so freaking lucky to be a part of this, every day it feels like we’re learning new stuff.”

Although the only one experiencing it firsthand, Arbaugh is not the only one amazed by the technology’s success so far.

“Absolutely amazing inspiring stuff. Someday this will help paralysed people walk again,” wrote one user.

“Another Elon Musk company that improves the condition of human! Elon loves humanity! His results speak for themselves!” added another user.

“The potential of Neuralink to improve lives is phenomenal. Great job Neuralink,” read another comment.

Human test subject controversy

While Arbaugh is all smiles now, having more accessibility to tasks and recreation than he did before Neuralink, news of the chip being impacted in its first human subject was met with division.

In a speech at the company headquarters in December, Musk spoke to the speed at which Neuralink would move forward with human testing.

“We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work before putting a device into a human,” he said.

“The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel.”

In late January, Musk posted an announcement that Arbaugh’s procedure had been completed, bringing about mixed reactions from the public.

Many people had reservations on the technology moving to human subjects.

“The negative potential of this makes me very uneasy,” one person wrote in a reply on Musk’s X post.

“I’m terrified by the thought of it,” said another.

Someone else replied, “Elon can turn off this fear with a chip in your brain.”

“Matrix time,” another said, referencing the iconic dystopian movie.

“The first cyborg has been born,” a fifth said.

Others, meanwhile, were astounded by the advancement and shared their excitement about seeing the results.

“Well done Neuralink and Elon!! This might very well turn out to be an important moment in history,” wrote one user.

“This is awesome news, we’re expanding on the two final frontiers. Space and the mind, can’t wait for the next company talk. So excited!” another said.

‘Extreme suffering’ in animal trials

In April 2021, Neuralink shocked the world with video of a Macaque, known as Pager, with one of the chips playing Pong.

The animal was seen using a joystick manually and then operating it with only its mind via a wireless connection with the chip.

Neuralink reportedly implanted Bluetooth-enabled chips into the brains of several monkeys to see if they could communicate with computers through a small receiver.

Some of the test subjects are believed to have “suffered infections from the implanted electrodes placed in their brains,” according to a complaint filed by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

The group filed a complaint with the USDA, claiming it had evidence macaques used in previous trials were subjected to horrific suffering.

In 2022, the USDA opened a federal probe under the Animal Welfare Act, Reuters reported.

About 1,500 animals – including more than 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys – reportedly died as a result of Neuralink tests since 2018, the outlet reported, citing records it reviewed.

The company was accused of subjecting animals to “extreme suffering” – with one monkey having holes drilled in its skull.

Neuralink conducted its monkey experiments in partnership with scientists at the University of California, Davis.

“No monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant. First, our early implants, to minimise risk to healthy monkeys, we chose terminal monkeys (sic) (close to death already),” Musk replied to a meme on X.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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