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Elon Musk: Neuralink has enabled monkey to play video games with its mind

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Elon Musk has announced that his brain-implant company Neuralink has allowed a monkey to play video games with its brain.

“We’ve already got a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull, and the tiny wires, who can play video games using his mind,” the richest man in the world said late Sunday during a two-hour interview on the app Clubhouse, which allows users to listen in on casual voice chats between others.

“One of the things we’re trying to figure out is, can we have the monkeys play mind-Pong with each other?” Musk added. “That would be pretty cool.”

Neuralink, part of Musk’s portfolio of companies, is developing a computer-brain interface so that paralyzed people can easily communicate with their cellphones or computers, the billionaire tech entrepreneur also said. He described it as “like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.”

This monkey isn’t the only animal getting a demo version of the implant. During an August presentation, Musk said that Neuralink had installed a prototype in a pig named Gertrude, which garnered criticism from PETA, according to The New York Post.

However, the Tesla CEO asserted Sunday that the test monkey is happy and comfortable with his set-up.

“It’s not an unhappy monkey,” Musk emphasized. “You can’t even see where the neural implant was put in, except that he’s got a slight like dark mohawk.”

“He’s not uncomfortable and he doesn’t look weird,” he also said. “When the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] came through and inspected our facilities, our monkey facilities, she said it was like the nicest monkey facilities she’s ever seen in her entire career, just FYI. We went the extra mile for the monkeys.”

While Musk did not offer any additional information or evidence demonstrating how the implant functions, he did say that Neuralink is planning to release “some new videos showing progress maybe in a month or so.”

MORE ON ELON MUSK: Elon Musk: I’m ‘highly confident’ SpaceX’s first crewed Mars mission will launch in 2026, maybe as early as 2024

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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