Was the Neuralink demo just a big recruiting campaign?

Was the Neuralink demo just a big recruiting campaign?

Elon Musk’s controversial and experimental brain-computing company Neuralink held a live demo last night, aiming to prove to the world that its technology is safe and close to viable human trials.

During the event, Musk made the ambitious promise that Neuralink’s brain chip technology could begin human clinical trials as early as next year. But their technology is awaiting vital Food and Drug Administration approval, and Neuralink employees noted during the demonstration that the government watchdog still has plenty of questions about security.

Behind the lengthy explanations of how Neuralink’s various technologies work (including surgical robots and electrode implants), there was also another message: Neuralink really, really wants you to work there.

“I want to emphasize, again, that the primary focus of this update is recruiting,” Musk himself said during the demo.

Although based in Fremont, there’s likely to be no shortage of SoCal-based candidates looking to join Team Musk, especially given the array of local universities here with strong majors. in engineering and neuroscience that continue to produce well-qualified young graduates — including USC and UCLA, for starters.

Given Musk’s adversity at remote work, it doesn’t appear Neuralink offers work-from-home options, though its posts advertise benefits for commuters. Additionally, Neuralink has raised $373 million since launching in 2016, so it has money set aside for team building.

Similar to past Neuralink events – and many of those “show and tell” types of affairs in the tech industry – the event was overall an enhanced recruiting campaign. Neuralink’s careers page popped up on the screen several times during the more than two hour presentation. The company is currently recruiting for a number of positions in Fremont and Austin, where many of Musk’s other businesses, including SpaceX, are expanding their presence and where Musk himself now lives.

Currently, more than 60 job postings are online on Neuralink’s job page. Most of them are openings for software and “brain interface” engineers, including surgical and robotics engineering technicians. But the company is also hiring a veterinarian, electricians and a clinical research coordinator as it ramps up efforts to conduct trials on beings other than apes.

Interestingly, at Wednesday’s event, Musk said employees don’t need to know how the brain works, or a whole lot about biology if they want to work at the brain biology company. “When you break down the skills needed to operate Neuralink, it’s actually many of the same skills that are needed to operate a modern smartwatch or phone,” Musk joked at the event.

So is Neuralink struggling to fulfill these roles? While it’s not unusual for the company to intend to hire more staff given Musk’s ambitious human testing goals by 2023, some past applicants have noted that the rigorous vetting process of Neuralink could complicate the hiring process.

Breck Yunitsa Long Beach-based software engineer who previously worked at Microsoft, said in a recent Neuralink Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) thread that he had five interviews at Neuralink before being turned down for a job as a software engineer for web applications. .

“I’ve never had so many interviews,” Yunits said when asked if the intense interview experience was the norm in his industry. “But I’m not complaining – these people were brilliant and so much fun to meet.”

Like his introductions, Neuralink employees are keen to tell future employees that they could end up working for a company that could change the lives of people with disabilities. Something Yunits said all employees mentioned as a goal during his application process. This has, after all, been Musk’s alleged target all along; help people who are paralyzed or physically handicapped to overcome their physical obstacles by stimulating their brain directly with electrodes.

Yunits added in his AMA that the process “became extremely technical, but only about the things I would actually build and my previous work.” Yunits noted, however, that he was limited in what he could comment on, since he had signed an NDA before the interview process and added that he had no plans to reapply.

So is Neuralink struggling to staff? As one Neuralink Discord server user noted, it’s always harder to recruit highly skilled workers: “I guess if they’re looking for highly skilled people, it might be difficult. These [events] are still a recruiting tool anyway.

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