The start-up Neuralink, one of Elon Musk’s companies, announced on Thursday via Twitter that it received permission from the US health authorities to test interconnected brain implants to people.

This is “an important step that will one day allow our technology to help many people”, said the Californian start-up company, hastening to clarify that the “recruitment” of volunteers for the “clinical trials” it will conduct “has not yet begun”.

Neuralink is designing an interface that will be implanted in the human brain to enable communication with computers through thought.

It is expected above all to help the paralyzed, or those suffering from neurological diseases.

The start-up then wants to make the devices safe and reliable enough to be implanted in people willing to spend thousands of dollars so that the brain them to gain more power.

For Mr. Musk, who founded Neuralink in 2016, the chip to be implanted in humans might allow humanity to achieve “coexistence with artificial intelligence,” as he put it in 2020 at a company event.

The billionaire is afraid that tartificial intelligence (TN) will overcome man, take control one day.

In March, Mr. Musk founded X.AI, another AI startup, likely to compete with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, software that can interact with people and produce all kinds of text when asked to. they ask for it.

“We are now convinced that Neuralink’s device is ready for peopleso the timeline depends on the FDA approval process,” the US drug agency said on Twitter in late November, a month after it bought the social networking site.

The FDA did not immediately respond when AFP sought comment.

The head of Tesla and SpaceX is used to making ambitious as risky predictions, e.g. about the autonomy of Tesla cars.

In July 2019, he assured that the Neuralink would begin the first human clinical trials in 2020.

From time to time, Mr Mask has made headlines with claims of technology of this nature, for example how it could cure everything from obesity to autism and schizophrenia, or allow one to surf the internet telepathically. Last year he assured that he is so sure of the security of his company’s device that he would implant it in his children.

To date, prototypes of the implants, which are the size of a small coin, have been installed in animal skulls. Monkeys were thus able to “play” video games, or “type” words on screens, simply by moving the cursor on the screen with their eyes.

In late November, the start-up spoke of advances in designing a robotic surgeon and developing other implants, which would be placed in the spinal cord or eyes to restore movement or vision.

In 2022, Mr. Musk conjured Neuralink workers to move at a much faster speed. “We’ll all be dead before anything useful is produced”he had told them in a meeting last year, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

In the past, the FDA has highlighted several areas it will need to get convincing answers on before it approves human trials — the implant’s lithium battery, the potential for wires to come out of the implant and damage the brain, the possibility of safe of removing the device without damaging brain tissues etc.

And other companies are working on controlling computers with thought, such as Synchron, which announced in July 2022 that it had implanted the first brain-machine interface in the US.