BART sues over ads targeting Elon Musk and his lab’s monkey research

On Thursday, a group of doctors filed a lawsuit alleging that BART violated their constitutional right to free speech by refusing to place ads targeting technology executive Elon Musk on trains and stations.

The lawsuit filed by the Board of Physicians for Responsible Medicine against the transportation agency alleges that BART violated the First Amendment by refusing to allow nonprofits to display ads demanding that Musk post videos of lab monkey experiments at his Neuralink “brain-computer interface” company.

BART said Thursday that it “maintains ad content guidelines to establish uniform, neutral standards for ad display across all BART facilities.”

Neuralink surgically implants hair-like electrodes into the brains of rhesus monkeys. A Neuralink video from April 2021 showed a monkey implanted with the company’s two brain electrodes was able to play computer games with its brain alone. In a 2019 paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the researchers said, “Elon Musk and Neuralink have successfully addressed a major problem holding back the next generation of invasive brain-computer interfaces,” and that the technology has the potential to restore the technology used Diseases cut off brain connections, such as Alzheimer’s.

The company claims that its technology could one day overcome paralysis and neurological diseases in humans – if artificial intelligence surpasses human capabilities, eventually allowing computer-augmented humans to defeat AI.

Physicians against animal testing obtained 700 pages of veterinary records earlier this year from the University of California, Davis, which kept and cared for Neuralink’s lab monkeys through 2020. The monkeys suffered frequent bacterial infections, missing fingers, oozing wounds, bloody digestive disturbances and stressful behaviors including refusal to eat, records showed. The animals were given drugs from a list of 40 drugs, the report showed, including opioid pain relievers such as fentanyl, ketamine, sedatives, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and pentobarbital, which is used for euthanasia. A monkey’s death was linked to glue seeping into its brain.

Musk and Neuralink did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the monkey’s lawsuit and treatment. The company, which was founded in San Francisco in 2016 and has an animal-testing lab in Fremont, said in a blog post about the UC Davis filing that it is “absolutely committed to being as humane and ethical as possible. way of working with animals”. And “as caregivers, we have a responsibility to ensure that their experience is as peaceful, candid, and joyful as possible.” The university said earlier this year that it strives to provide “the best possible care” for animals at the primate center, which 4,000 monkeys are raised for breeding and research, and all laws and regulations are complied with.

Neuralink has been recruiting for an apparently new animal research facility in Austin, Texas, including specialists in implanted devices and studying cadavers. The company has 22 monkeys at UC Davis, where a team of doctors believes 15 died, seven of which were transferred to the Neuralink lab on the Fremont office campus in December 2020. The USDA report shows that Neuralink is bringing more monkeys to Fremont, where it had 13 in February 2021. There were 12 in January and March of this year, according to USDA inspection records.

While Neuralink’s experimenters videotaped their work, the company, which is at the helm of CEO Musk, has only released “specially selected and edited” promos, the lawsuit filed by the doctors’ group said.

The doctor’s group’s proposed ad shows a monkey clutching a metal cage and saying, “ELON MUSK: Post a video! What are you hiding?” and include a link to a website called “StopMonkeyExperiments.”

In mid-March, the group contacted BART’s advertising manager, showed the planned ad and sought to show it, the lawsuit said. The agency rejected the ad, saying it violated two of its advertising policies, the lawsuit said. BART told the group that the ad involved “the misappropriation of names or likenesses and false descriptions” and “the unauthorized use of an individual’s name to imply malfeasance and direct control over the material,” the lawsuit said. BART said the ad also violated a policy that prohibits advertising targeting “well-known and therefore potentially controversial political figures,” according to the lawsuit. BART told the group it “considered Elon Musk to be a political figure based on his direct lobbying and outspokenness on prominently reported political issues,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit says the transportation agency is giving itself “unfettered discretion” to ban ads.”Due to subjective considerations not presented in the policy injunction, BART may consider any individual to be a ‘political figure,'” the lawsuit said. Also, because Musk — who is also the CEO of electric car company Tesla and rocket company SpaceX –already open discussion He had no right to privacy in the Neuralink experiment, and the team of doctors did not act “in bad faith” in designing the ad, the lawsuit said.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: