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Elon Musk's Neuralink implants first computer chip into human brain

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's neurotechnology company Neuralink has reached a major milestone by successfully implanting an experimental computer chip into a human brain for the first time.

Musk announced the breakthrough procedure yesterday in a social media post but provided scant details beyond stating that the implanted patient is "doing well". He claimed the initial results demonstrated "promising detection of neuron spikes", referring to peaks of electrical activity discharged by neurons.

However, the extent of clinical benefits for the patient remain unclear. Neuralink is developing a brain-computer interface consisting of ultra-thin threads with electrodes that can monitor and stimulate brain activity. The ultimate goal is allowing paralyzed patients or amputees to control devices or prosthetic limbs solely by thought.

Last year, the company received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to conduct an early feasibility study of the technology, which uses a surgical robot to connect the brain implant's wires. The current procedure appears tied to assessing the brain data collection functions versus therapeutic effects.

Beyond potential medical advantages, Musk views the brain chips as a path towards "superhuman cognition". However, Neuralink has faced consistent criticism over its animal testing practices, with watchdog groups alleging monkeys have been hurt or killed by malfunctions.

While additional transparency and outside verification are needed regarding both the latest human implant and past research controversies, the apparent safe procedure inches Neuralink towards Musk's ambitions of one day treating paralysis, blindness, and neurological disorders through a symbiotic fusion of human and artificial intelligence.

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