Max Hodak, the president of Neuralink, announced his departure from the company he co-founded with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Saturday. Hodak didn’t go into detail about why he left the company or the circumstances surrounding his departure. He tweeted, “I am no longer at Neuralink (as of a few weeks ago).” “I learned a ton there and remain a huge cheerleader for the company! Onward to new things.”
Neuralink aims to create brain-machine interfaces. The company uploaded a video to YouTube last month that appeared to show a monkey with a Neuralink implant in its brain pushing a cursor on a computer screen using only its mind.
Musk and Hodak co-founded Neuralink in 2016 with a group of other people, and Musk has put millions of dollars into the business. Former Neuralink employees told Stat News last year that the company’s internal atmosphere was chaotic, and that its scientists weren’t always given enough time to complete projects.
Although Neuralink did not develop brain-machine interfaces, its technology uses smaller, more flexible wires and more electrodes than other systems, theoretically providing more data. Musk has claimed that Neuralink’s technology may one day be used to help paraplegics walk again, as well as allowing humans to achieve “AI symbiosis,” or the fusion of the human brain and artificial intelligence.
However, several scientists and doctors have criticized Neuralink and are suspicious of its scientific claims; following a demonstration of a pig with a Neuralink system implanted in its brain in August 2020, MIT Technology Review dubbed the company “neuroscience theatre” and stated that “most of the company’s medical claims remain highly speculative.”