Science and Technology

Elon wants to put a chip in your brain

February 15, 2023
Hello, Insiders! This week, I’m exploring the new realities of artificial intelligence. Up today is a topic that strikes close to home: AI and journalism.

From the printing press to the whole dang internet, journalism has benefited and suffered mightily thanks to technology. AI is no exception. Some will see it as a job-stealing threat. ChatGPT, for example, can summarize and repackage information but doesn’t give credit. That’s not good.

More reasons to be wary: Sports Illustrated’s publisher tried using AI instead of human writers. The first article had some significant errors. CNET had to issue a string of corrections on an AI article. And some AI tools have the bad habit of stealing other people’s work.

As the editor of a large news organization, I plan to have lots of conversations with the team about AI’s benefits and drawbacks. I’d love to include you in that. So please send your thoughts: Stay tuned for more on this.

— Nicholas Carlson


In today’s edition: Brain chips could change you, Salesforce applies pressure on some employees, and the Ohio train derailment released potentially toxic chemicals. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.



Russian tanks, Tesla crash, & Amazon leak

  • Russia’s tanks may face “disadvantageous conditions” in a battle with US-made Abrams tanks, a defense expert at a Russian think tank says. Read why.
  • The wife of the man accused of intentionally driving his family off a 250-foot cliff doesn’t want him prosecuted. More here.
  • A leaked recording shows Amazon CEO Andy Jassy delivering a brutally honest rallying cry for employees to “redefine” the company. Our scoop here.

Brain-chip dangers

Arif Qazi / Insider


Elon Musk wants to put a computer chip in your brain.

Neuralink, Musk’s neurotech startup, has been working toward this goal since its founding in 2016, and it recently announced plans to start human trials in the next several months. The idea is to translate brain signals into digital outputs — like being able to send a text message or type with just a thought. And Musk wants it to be mainstream. A “Fitbit in your skull,” as he once put it.

But there are real dangers and unique ethical pitfalls to neural implants. Compelling evidence suggests the devices can cause cognitive changes beyond the scope of their intended applications — and there’s a risk of growing overly dependent on them as well. For some people, the devices have even changed their personality.



Ohio train, Salesforce, & more

Gene J. Puskar/AP


  • A train that derailed in Ohio contained several chemicals linked to cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency said. It comes amid reports that animals in the area are dying at alarming rates. Here’s how the chemicals affect human health.
  • A psychedelics company’s make-or-break moment. Inspired by the way psilocybin helped their son, the Compass Pathways cofounders Dr. Ekaterina Malievskaia and George Goldsmith could become fabulously wealthy if their company turns the psychedelic substance into an approved medicine. Inside the rise of the controversial company.
  • Salesforce is applying the pressure. Some employees have been offered a “Prompt Exit Package” instead of a layoff, with less severance. If they refuse, they’ll be put on a performance-improvement plan. Read more.
  • Over 100 drivers crash into buildings every day in the US. That’s according to the Storefront Safety Council. On average, one of those crashes each day happens at a 7-Eleven. More on these findings — and how people can best protect their properties.
  • An ex-Amazon manager says his boss encouraged him to quit after he fought unfair performance reviews. Giving employees low performance ratings just to fill a quota “makes me feel untrustworthy and disingenuous,” the manager said. Read his story here.
  • Rehearsal footage of Rihanna’s backup dancers is going viral on TikTok. The choreographer and viral dance star Parris Goebel has already racked up over 15 million views for the Super Bowl rehearsal. Watch the video here.
  • One of the “fathers of the internet” sounded the alarm on the gold rush around AI chatbots. Vint Cerf says “there’s an ethical issue” that he hopes people will think about before investing in the technology. The full story.

Tour a house inspired by sci-fi

Rezvani Motors
A twin-dome house with five bedrooms in Otterville, Missouri, is on the market for $348,421. It looks as if it belongs in the future — or in outer space. Go inside the property.

How real is it?

An airline pilot rates pilot emergencies in movies and TV. Zoya Agarwal, a pilot in command flying a Boeing 777 aircraft for Air India, breaks down the accuracy of dealing with emergencies in movies like the Denzel Washington film “Flight.” Check it out.

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This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Dave Smith, Nathan Rennolds, and Kevin Kaplan. Get in touch:

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