Musk Teases Brain Implant Company’s Pipeline After First Human Gets Chip



Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink will offer its first customers the ability to control computers with their minds, the tech billionaire said Monday after announcing the company has installed a chip in a human for the first time, adding later products will be geared towards restoring sight to the blind followed by more futuristic hopes of enhancing cognitive abilities like memory and melding human minds with artificial intelligence.

Key Facts

Neuralink’s first product will be “Telepathy,” Musk said in an X post.

Telepathy will allow users to control a computer or phone “just by thinking,” Musk said, adding that, through these, people could control “almost any device.”

The details come after Musk said Neuralink had implanted its very first brain chip in a human on Sunday, which the company hopes will be used as a wireless interface between brain and computer.

Musk said initial results from the procedure are “promising” and that the patient is “recovering well.”

Musk said Telepathy’s first target audience will be people “who have lost the use of their limbs.”

Crucial Quote

“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer,” Musk posted on X. “That is the goal” of Neuralink’s Telepathy, he said.

What To Watch For

Early ambitions for Neuralink are focused on restoring functions lost when the communication pathways between brain and body break down. Telepathy, for example, would hopefully restore communication or movement for paralyzed people. Musk has suggested Neuralink’s second product could be geared towards restoring eyesight for the blind, as well as other people with vision problems. The Neuralink chip could beam “direct vision to the brain” by stimulating parts of the visual cortex, Musk said, maybe even restoring sight where the optic nerve that connects the eye and brain has been lost. Musk indicated in an X post that the product could be called “Blindsight.”

Key Background

Musk’s vision for Neuralink extends far beyond the company’s short-term goal of restoring lost functions like movement, communication and sight. In the long term, Musk has said he hopes the brain interface technology will help humans merge with machines to elevate, enhance and even add capabilities to the human mind. It could be used to speed up communication with computers (and other people with interfaces), for example, externalize and boost memory capacity, or see or hear in exquisite detail at sensitivities and spectra inaccessible to humans. Ultimately, Musk and other like-minded people argue such implants will be needed for humans to stay relevant in an era of increasingly capable artificial intelligence. Critics warn that using the technology for enhancement purposes on otherwise healthy people poses many ethical questions not raised when deployed for treatment, as well as a host of more speculative concerns regarding mental privacy, brain data and hacking.

News Peg

Neuralink secured approval to begin human trials from the Food and Drug Administration in May and is recruiting participants. The Prime study—which stands for “Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface”—is intended to evaluate the safety and initial functionality of Neuralink’s brain chip in patients with quadriplegia and will take about six years to complete. The trial will also assess the safety of Neuralink’s surgical robot, which the company said will implant “ultra-fine and flexible threads in a region of the brain that controls movement intention.”


Neuralink is not the only company trying to put implants in peoples’ brains, nor is it necessarily the most advanced. Brain implants for conditions like Parkinson’s disease are already in widespread use and firms like Blackrock Neurotech and Synchron started human tests for brain implant products decades ago (in the case of Blackrock). Neuralink’s chips have also been tested thoroughly in animals, though the company has been criticized for its animal welfare record and was reportedly fined for poor practices moving hazardous materials by federal regulators in February.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Musk to be worth $210.2 billion. He is the world’s richest person by a narrow margin, leading French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault by a margin of around $1.4 billion. Arnault briefly overtook Musk as the world’s richest last week, but Musk reclaimed the title on Monday. Much of Musk’s wealth comes from the series of valuable, often futuristic, companies he cofounded and runs. This includes electric carmaker Tesla, rocket firm SpaceX and tunneling firm Boring Company. He controversially acquired Twitter, now X, in 2022 and hopes to transform it into a trillion dollar “everything app.”

Further Reading

MORE FROM FORBESElon Musk Says Neuralink Could Slash Risk From AI As Firm Prepares For First Human TrialsBy Robert HartMORE FROM FORBESElon Musk’s Neuralink Wants To Put Chips In Our Brains – How It Works And Who Else Is Doing ItBy Robert HartMORE FROM FORBESRead The First Texts Elon Musk’s SpaceX Sent Via Its Starlink Satellites Orbiting EarthBy Robert Hart

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