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Neuralink co-founder Max Hodak is leaving Elon Musk’s brain implant company

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla, waves as he arrives for a discussion at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, DC, on Monday, March 9, 2020.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Neuralink President Max Hodak announced on Twitter on Saturday that he is no longer with the health care venture he co-founded with Elon Musk, and has not been for a few weeks. He did not disclose the circumstances of his departure.

Fremont, California-based Neuralink is, “developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect people and computers,”

; according to the company’s self-description on LinkedIn.

Musk – who is also CEO of electric car manufacturers Tesla and aviation contractor SpaceX – has said, without proving that this is possible, that Neuralink’s devices could enable “superhuman cognition” that allows paralyzed people to operate smartphones or robot limbs with their mind one day and “solve” autism and schizophrenia.

Founded in 2016, where Musk is investing tens of thousands of millions of his significant personal wealth, Neuralink is also developing surgical robot technology to implant its devices and sews essentially small wires around a quarter of a human hair diameter to connect the implants to the brain.

Skeptics abound.

Musk described the operation to insert a Neuralink device as taking less than an hour.

Neuralink demo

Following the August 2020 demonstration, the MIT Technology Review considered Neuralink a “neuroscience theater” in a violent breakdown of the presentation.

Musk does not have a background in neuroscience or medical devices, but according to a project director at Neuralink quoted by The New York Times in 2019, he has been “active in trying to help solve the technical challenges that Neuralink faces.”

In the medical news site StatNews, a neuroethicist and physician named Anna Wexler wrote in an op-ed on April 7, 2021:

“In this new world of private neurotechnical development, corporate demonstrations are streamed live on YouTube and have the taste of techno – optimism involving proclamations about a future we have not yet seen – but one that we are sure will happen. is sparse; rhetoric about making the world a better place is heavy. “

The next day, Musk wrote in a series of tweets again without presenting evidence:

“First @Neuralink product allows someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with the mind faster than someone who uses thumbs

“Later versions will be able to shunt signals from Neuralinks in the brain to Neuralinks in body motor / sensory neuron clusters, allowing for example paraplegics to go again

The device is implanted flush with the skull and is charged wirelessly so you look & feel completely normal “

On Saturday, Hodak was not immediately available for comment.

For Musk, Saturday was undoubtedly a day that required more focus on his aviation venture, SpaceX. After 167 days in space, astronauts on a crew, SpaceX and NASA mission began their return flight home with a “splashdown” expected around 2:57 am

One of Hodak’s followers on Twitter asked him what was next, and he replied, “Not Jurassic Park.” Quip was a reference to a previously fantastic discussion about the microblogging platform, where Hodak pondered: “We could probably build a law park if we wanted to. Would not be genetically authentic dinosaurs, but maybe 15 years of breeding + technique to get super exotic novel species.”

Neuralink is one of many medical technology companies working on so-called “brain-machine interfaces.”

Competitors include those who develop implants and non-invasive devices as headsets. Among them are Kernel, Synchron, Neurable and even Facebook in the US, CereGate in Germany and Mindmaze in Switzerland.

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