Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Elon Musk has an update about an update, coming in August, as reported by cnet this month.
The “progress” update on Neuralink is about his startup trying to create a link between brains and computers. – the one he sees as an existential threat to humanity. The device aims to help those with brain and spinal cord injuries or congenital defects. But the long-term goal is to build a "digital superintelligence layer" to link humans with artificial intelligence.
In July 2019, Musk said the company had tried the device on a monkey, and the monkey had been able to control a computer with its brain. He also said he'd hoped to have it in a human patient by the end of the year.
Knowing my penchant for marking the connections between transgenderism, transhumanism, technology, and capitalism, someone asked me this morning what I think of this. How could something so unique for people with spinal cord injuries be wrong (I believe transhumanism is terrible)? No one ever thinks of this type of progress as wrong. I mean, who can argue with helping injured people?
I think we should ask the monkey what it thinks. Let’s ask the monkey Musk minions tried this on, shall we? - or the several hundred which he probably used who didn’t have spinal cord injuries, who were taken from their home in the wild, stuck in a laboratory in some cage, away from their land base and family so Musk could experiment - all for us amazing, superior humans who get to use and abuse anything or anyone in our path as long as we’re doing it for “progress.” This is the first thing that comes to my mind - and of course, it happens everywhere daily all over the world to rats and mice and monkeys and rabbits and the pigs being raised on Martine Rothblatt’s xenotransplantation farm who will become heart and lung donors so humans can live indefinitely - or at least a whole lot longer. We don’t hear the screams, so no big deal.
The second issue I have with this is all the natural “resources,” or destruction of the natural world that goes into the tech that creates this “progress.” It seems a wee bit counter-productive to my mind. It’s not that there is no thought about this as the icebergs continue their slip into the long night, but that tech speeds ahead of us while we’re still in conversation mode – and by “we,” I mean the uber-rich. The 99% don’t get a vote.
And lastly, the risk posed by transhumanism may seem worth it unless we consider the path we’re already on. Our high-speed transportation modes bring exciting opportunities and first-hand knowledge of other cultures. They also separate us from the living communities, our land, and the people we were born to and around. They create distance in terms of time and space but also a distance from the same forms of knowledge that emerge for each family member from their particular land bases and their connectedness to each other. We may visit our families on those high speeds of transportation to get back once a year, but who will they have become to us? Will we know them as we would have, had we lived and grown amongst them? Would our relationships have proved more rooted, durable, and enriching?
How about our smartphones? How about our computers, our tablets, our wrist widgets, and TikTok? They bring so much! They are incredible!! How did we live without them?
What are they doing to our land base - our home? What are they doing to our relationships? Are we so much better off talking to each other through zoom and FaceTime?
The problem with technology is we never get to ask. We never get to consider the damage. Our societies are too big and complex to ask these questions at each juncture. The speed at which technology develops and the sheer size of our complex cultures prohibits a democratic evaluation process along the lines of “should we or shouldn’t we?” and “what is the overall cost?”
Add unfettered capitalism and stir. Corporatism doesn’t stop for anyone. It strives with the nearly life-like current of the market to create profit, like a heat-seeking missile. Nothing must get in its way. And those at the top, with all the money, are addicted to its flow. You can almost hear the technical heartbeat of the market each day upon awakening: progress, progress, progress, where once there was the magnificent pulse of the natural world surrounding us, enveloping us, connecting us through the currents of the planet's waterways, other species, our respective land base, and our communities.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. 102 people die each day from auto accidents. We create technologies that put us at risk for injuries we then make technologies to fix them. I don’t see a lot of sanity in this. I know a lot of harms get no restitution but proliferate outwards like incurable cancer, covering our world and all the species in it.
The same thing happens with transgenderism. We create a tech fix for the steel boxes of cultural stereotypes and never ask for a moment if deconstructing the boxes that imprison our natural development would be better than the tech fix. Transgenderism is profitable. It deconstructs our humanity by deconstructing and commoditizing sex, the way capitalism deconstructs a way of life that would have us living in a community with the land and each other, chewing us all up for the market.
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