Neuralink brain-chip ridiculed as Musk company recruits clinical trial director

The news that Elon Musk's Neuralink brain-chip start-up is seeking a clinical trial director has sent social media into overdrive.

The billionaire said in December the company was hoping to implant its first devices into humans in 2022, and that looks a step closer thanks to the job advert it posted on its website.

The director would be responsible for designing and overseeing the chipping of humans after the successful implantation of a chip in both a pig and a macaque monkey.

However the prospect of chipping the brains of humans has drawn comparisons with science fiction in pop culture, including Charlie Brooker's Netflix series Black Mirror.

"First robot dogs, now this. Black Mirror doesn't even need to come back at this point, we're here, we did it," Sam Fischer tweeted.

"There are several Black Mirror episodes about how this is a bad idea," another wrote.

In an interview with Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal last year, the controversial CEO said the Neuralink device was designed to get those with severe spinal cord injuries walking again.

At the time Musk was "increasingly convinced" Neuralink would allow the likes of quadriplegics to walk again naturally.

"I think we have a chance with Neuralink of being able to restore full body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury," he said.

Previously he had said the device could be used to backup memories and restore them.

"Then ultimately, you could potentially download them into a new body or into a robot body," he said.

Geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford, author of the book Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics, was forthright in his criticism of Musk's plans, describing them as "absolute balls".

"This is god-level c**kwaffle, typical of the manballs beloved of these ignorant dorks," he tweeted.

Others reacted with a mix of bemusement and humour.

"Can't wait to be stuck in a tunnel with my brain on fire sitting in a Tesla which is also on fire," Clayton Cubitt wrote, referring to Musk's underground car tunnels made by his Boring Company.

"Old enough to remember when people were freaking out when they thought Bill Gates had a chip in the vaccine. I think it was about 3 months ago," Jennifer Wright tweeted.

Kalynn Bayron said the joke was on Musk.

"My brain already replays my most embarrassing memories on loop every night before I go to bed," she wrote.

In 2021 Neuralink released a video of the macaque, named Pager, playing the game Pong wirelessly after getting the implant.

"Neuralink is working well in monkeys and we're obviously doing a lot of testing and just confirming it's very safe and reliable and the Neuralink device can be removed safely," Musk said at the time.