Headline RoundupMay 26th, 2023

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Says FDA Gave Approval for Human Trials

AllSides Summary

Neuralink tweeted Thursday that it had received FDA approval for a “first-in-human clinical study” of its brain implant.

For Context: Co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016, Neuralink is developing implants it hopes will help cure paralysis and other neurological ailments. In November 2022, Musk predicted that the company was six months away from the first human trial, echoing previous predictions of FDA approval since 2019. Reuters (Center bias) reported in March 2023 that the FDA rejected a prior human trials application in early 2022, citing “dozens of issues the company must address.” Separately, the company came under federal investigation in early 2022 after an animal rights group accused Neuralink researchers of “mutilating” monkeys’ brains, causing “extreme suffering.”

The Details: In its announcement, the brain chip company added: “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 FDA also acknowledged the decision on Friday. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was common across the spectrum, particularly in tech outlets. Most coverage prominently featured Musk’s involvement in Neuralink. Some coverage from the left focused more on animal rights concerns, while some coverage from the right highlighted the technical potential of brain implants.

Update 5/26: Neuralink's tweet was posted Thursday evening, not Friday morning, as previous version stated.

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