It’s your lucky day!

The Neuralink Patient Registry is now open! You too can now apply to have a robot operate on your brain (if you meet the requirements: you must be a quadriplegic over the age of 22 who has no other implants and is not prone to seizures.) It’s the most horrendously awful lottery ever.

Not only must the victims patients have experienced extreme tragedy and trauma, but they will be subject to intense, invasive surgery with no guaranteed outcome, and the procedure is entirely experimental with the goal of not restoring any function, but simply to test whether their surgical robot works without scrambling your brain.

Best case, if it works, you will be able to play Pong with your mind, at least until the scar tissue disables the whole device, or it triggers dangerous seizures. Also consider the implications of the requirements to enroll: no other implants allowed. When the new, improved MkII Neuralink comes out, that means MkI recipients will be undesirable. They’re always going to want fresh, untrammeled brains to hack into.

If I were in such dire straits to qualify, I wouldn’t apply. I wouldn’t need to make my situation worse, with such feeble promise of reward.


  1. uncategory says

    Surely I’m not the only one to imagine the Cybermen from Doctor WHo using robot surgical arms to “upgrade” human beings here.

  2. says

    I’m a big fan of socialised healthcare, but I think this is one case where people should be required to sign a waiver that says “I am fully responsible for any negative health effects of this procedure. No other entity can ever be compelled to pay for resulting health care costs or disability assistance.”

  3. microraptor says

    If the Muskrat actually gets one, it might be safe to consider getting one. Still not a good idea, but at least one that isn’t just a new and painful method of suicide.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    There is a horror story by Stephen King where a quadroplegic ex-astronaut discovers he has been infected by an alien symbiont that takes his body for a ride when he is asleep, having built its own network of nerves bypassing the spinal injury.
    If I was quadroplegic I would invite a symbiont like that . But I would not accept the Elon Musk experiment.

  5. says

    the musk melon is EVIL (not an exaggeration)
    another tip of the iceberg shows:
    Ethics Group Asks SEC to Probe Musk Claims About ‘Gruesome’ Neuralink Monkey Trials
    “It seems obvious to everyone but Elon Musk that Neuralink’s device is unsafe,” said one critic. “Now he is deliberately misleading investors and the public by outright lying about the company’s monkey experiments.”
    Brett Wilkins Sep 21, 2023

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Giliell @ # 2: … people should be required to sign a waiver that says “… No other entity can ever be compelled to pay for resulting health care costs or disability assistance.”

    Not in this case. Neuralink should set up a large and independent irrevocable trust with an ironclad commitment to provide lifetime care for all research subjects (including primates, dogs, pigs, rats, et alia). Round-trip Mars tickets optional.

  7. cag says

    But, but, but, it’s based on Operating On Patients Safely. If OOPS doesn’t convince you of the procedures safety, what will?

  8. says

    Pierce R. Butler
    Involuntary subjects (who couldn’t sign a waiver anyway): yes. Adults happily and willingly signing up for this? Their problem. Maybe having to sign a piece of paper that says “Neuralink will not provide any help to you” will make some people think.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Naah, the AGIs will use the device to download themselves into organic brains.
    One of the later novels of Philip Jose Farmer’s world of tiers novels had a similar premise.

  10. Rich Woods says

    @Microraptor #5:

    If the Muskrat actually gets one, it might be safe to consider getting one.

    But how could we tell if the Neuralink was malfunctioning? Show him a hundred photos of people and see if he shouts ‘Pedo!’ at less than half of them?

  11. says

    Playing Pong with your mind probably doesn’t sound like much to most of you, but remember, the technology will continue to advance. Within a decade or so, you might even be able to play that racecar game from 1976 without external controls.

  12. springa73 says

    Looks like Neuralink is targeting the most desperate people. It would be cruel to simply abandon someone harmed by this procedure.

  13. wzrd1 says

    I dunno, race car game from 1976 without controls, isn’t that a Tesla on autopilot?
    The only real difference is, when the link crashes, one’s head bursts into flames…

    I don’t see that going forward, as I doubt he’d find a physician willing to lose their medical license for performing such a surgery – especially given the animal test subject infection rate. Of an insurance company that’d accept the risk, meaning he’s likely got “excuse me” insurance.

  14. wzrd1 says

    So, pretty much the only people that could have been allowed to build and test radical new airplanes were the Wright brothers and Howard Hughes?
    No, just ensure that strict liability for damages follows, with highly punitive measures for malfeasance. Saw, $10 million pension for the injured and each of their immediate family members per year for life, adjusted to track with inflation.