When Elon Musk recently tweeted that no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant, Factland community member @jsigwart was skeptical. She promptly posted a claim and now we have a result. Relying on evidence shared of reports of animals suffering during Neuralink procedures in The Guardian newspaper, internal dissent over animal testing at the company revealed by Reuters, and a deep dive investigation just conducted by WIRED magazine, Factland jurors concluded the claim was false.
It's a timely case given regulators just approved human testing for the devices.
Yet this case, like many others on Factland, raises an interesting challenge: Is that kind of evidence – arbitrary links to published news reports citing source material second hand – really conclusive? Shouldn't Factland be collecting first hand sources, like the studies and research reported in those publications, directly, and not rely on mainstream press outlets to help decide?
That was the conclusion of one early beta tester who complained the evidence presented to help decide claims was just "links" so where was the authority? What exactly was Factland really adding?
The fact is, this kind of work is hard to do, and we're the first to admit we are not where we want to be yet. Our bet is that, by offering rewards through staking and bounties for evidence and jury service, we will attract enough people with deep subject matter expertise that the quality of evidence will steadily improve and become more and more persuasive.
Given the adversarial nature of our method, we're hopeful experts with opposing points of view will engage each other and pull in the very best evidence and arguments on both sides. In a perfect world, Neuralink itself – Elon? – would join the fray to try to collect a true verdict by staking on its public statements and backing up its position.
Until then, we're firmly fixed on imagining the future that we expect to emerge from this radical new approach, rather than the present. It's a big bet. We're slowly getting there, and we're confident we'll get there eventually as more people join in. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
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