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10 December 2019
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Neuralink
Neuroscience/Brain Science

Elon Musk Claims Neuralink Can “Solve” Autism, Schizophrenia

He incorrectly suggested that autism is a brain disease.
by Dan Robitzski / November 14 2019

On a recent podcast appearance, Neuralink CEO Elon Musk claimed that the company’s experimental brain-computer interface technology would be able to “solve” neurological diseases.

In the past, Musk has suggested that Neuralink could help with serious conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, but now he’s added a bizarre new example to the list: autism spectrum disorder.

“So Neuralink, I think at first will solve a lot of brain-related diseases,” Musk said on the “Artificial Intelligence” podcast with Lex Fridman. “So could be anything from like autism, schizophrenia, memory loss — like everyone experiences memory loss at certain points in age. Parents can’t remember their kids’ names and that kind of thing.”

As Business Insider reports, autism is considered a developmental disorder, not a brain disease that can or necessarily should be “cured.”

But because Musk didn’t elaborate, it’s not clear whether he misunderstands what autism is or whether he was merely rattling off a list of well-known conditions to advocate for Neuralink’s future capabilities.

While schizophrenia can be a debilitating mental condition, autism is more tightly linked to a sense of identity — and listing it as a disease to be solved as Musk did risks further stigmatizing a community pushing for better treatment and representation.

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