On COVID-19 Day 224 [August 28, 2020]
I watched with great eagerness and patience for the update on Elon Musk’s Neuralink. The 30-minute delay didn’t diminish my enthusiasm. A year ago, Neuralink brought hope, now the hope is coming to life. Musk carefully presented his findings using clear concise, language and leaving enough room for the imagination to run wild. The greatest success announced is that Neuralink is an approved FDA Breakthrough Device.
Neuralink promises much including the resolution of neurological ailments, solving brain and spine problems, and memory loss. There are consumer applications that may include a direct brain to computer link, making it easier for people, like myself, who want to be able to think and write rather than type. How long will it take to understand the complex processes of the brain to enable a function that thinks and applies? I want to be able to store my memories. In the story, I wrote, in Laundrygate, HEA.VEN, I creatively explore what it means to download your very essence mind, memories, and consciousness so that there is a life after physical death. In all of my Laundrygate stories, there are several brain-to-computer components giving the user ease of use in the creative process.
As I watched the well-intentioned presentation, I thought of poor dear Gertrude, the pig, with the Neuralink embedded in her brain. I can only imagine the fear she felt as her brain was being sliced opened to insert the device. I don’t understand why the device needs to be inserted into the brain, it feels too much like a control switch. Many questions about security are unanswered. Another question the comes to mind is why is it necessary to cut into the brain when devices could be created to work with brain functions without needing surgery?
Cathy Hackl explores the advances in devices that create a connection to the brain. In her must-read piece, “Meet 10 Companies Working On Reading Your Thoughts (And Even Those Of Your Pets)“, Cathy was able to experience some of these new devices and her report brings clarity. These technologies have come a long way since IBVA. When IBVA debuted in 1995 at MacWorld, I met up with the founders and tried out the brain scanning cap that translated my brainwaves into music. They also designed a brain feedback game. A brain cap had to be worn to virtually interface with the game, and the calmer your brain the faster you can play the video game – no joystick or hand movements needed – just your calm thoughts.
Science fiction imitates life. Michael Crichton’s sci-fi medical thriller, The Terminal Man, published in 1974, describes the use of electrodes that are placed deep in the brain of a man suffering from seizures that make him violent and to the point of blackouts. The device is meant to stimulate the brain’s pleasure center so that the man is subdued. The after-effects of the procedure only make him more violent. And there is Johnny Mnemonic, the science fiction thriller by William Gibson describes a similar device embedded into the brain that will control the behavior of the person who is implanted. There is a fascination with devices that control behavior. Is this the step to be taken to enhance the progression of transhumanism?
I hope August 28th, 2021, Neuralink has more advances to announce and more hope for the future of humanity.
Whoever owns human-to-technological evolution owns the future! – @Tery