Brain Implants? Monkeys Playing Pong? What Next?

By | August 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

You can’t make this up:

  • Neuralink – a tech company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk – announced that it will begin developing brain implants for humans. A similar link allowed a monkey to play  a game of Pong by merely thinking about it.
  • “I’m really excited to show you what we’ve got. I think it’s going to blow your mind.” – Elon Musk. Didn’t know he meant it literally.

The idea is that a computer does what we want. The reality is that we do what the computer wants. Ever wait for an update to Windows, then wait for the restart? Ever have a lane-keeping car veer toward an oncoming truck you tried to avoid by edging to the right? Could Musk’s idea help paralyzed people get around? We hope so. But what else might it do?

“Forbidden Planet” was a thought-provoking science-fiction movie. We landed on a planet that had an advanced civilization, but all the “people” – the Krell – were nowhere to be found. They had developed a supercomputer that read everyone’s mind and got them whatever they wanted with no effort. That sounds uncomfortably similar to Musk’s brain implants, as well as other “advanced” notions.

The problem was that the Krell had forgotten the unconscious mind, which is pure id and often wishes unpleasant things for anyone who annoys us. The Krell annihilated themselves. Guess Elon Musk never saw that movie.

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