Elon Musk has put a new spin on the expression “guinea pig” by trotting out a live pig to perform in his much-anticipated “Neurolink” demonstration. This was a real porker, not a rodent, and Musk played the ‘rat’ in the demo by touting it as a major breakthrough and attempting to recruit human volunteers while comparing the whole thing to the dystopian science fiction series, “Black Mirror.” Is Musk electrically driving us into a real-life Twilight Zone?
“In a lot of ways, it’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull, with tiny wires. I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t know. Maybe I do.'”
Wannabe comedian Musk tried to put the audience in a pseudo Joe Rogan interview as he introduced a group of pigs. (Watch the entire presentation/demonstration here.) One was said to have had a ‘Link’ implanted and later removed, to demonstrate that the process is safe (for pigs, at least). Before you start thinking that this doesn’t sound too bad, the Link is about 23 millimeters (.9 inches) by 8 millimeters (.3 inches) and …
“Getting a link requires opening a piece of skull, removing a coin size piece of skull, robot insets electrodes and the device replaces the portion of skull that is closed up with super glue.”
If getting sawed open, probed and superglued by a so-called “sewing” robot is on your bucket list, the line starts at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. However, you may want to talk to a former employee first. Some of them spoke out to STAT on the run-up to the demonstration that the company’s Muskian philosophy to "move fast and break things" has many employees "completely overwhelmed" – which turns them into ex-employees and explains why Musk used the pig demonstration to appeal for more workers … not pigs, of course. He’s more likely looking for engineers who don’t want to be left behind, but instead want to be part of his weird wide world where memories will be unloaded, downloaded, off-loaded and more.
“You could upload, you could basically store your memories as a backup, and restore the memories, and ultimately you could potentially download them into a new body or a robot body. The future’s going to be weird.”
Disappointingly, most of Musk’s ‘demonstration’ was videos and gonna-be-great commentary and predictions – like that the Neuralink could potentially be used for gaming or summoning your Tesla. If you’re interested in upping your game or your Tesla summoning, volunteers need to meet one more criteria, according to The Verge:
“The first clinical trials will be in a small number of patients with severe spinal cord injuries, to make sure it works and is safe. Last year, Musk said he hoped to start clinical trials in people in 2020. Long term, Musk said they will be able to restore full motion in people with those types of injuries using a second implant on the spine.”
There you go – you knew Musk had to have a noble cause hidden among the boasts of “general anesthesia,” “30 minutes or less” (If it takes longer, is it free? Asking for a friend), “like a Fitbit in your skull” and “Black Mirror.” Speaking of that last one, Musk likes the comparison because “I guess they’re pretty good at predicting.”
So were George Orwell and Rod Serling. Speaking of Orwell, do you think the pigs on “Animal Farm” would stand in line on their two legs to get a Fitbit in their brains from Elon Musk?
The line starts over there.