The terrifying steps forward in technology
“We have a monkey with a wireless implant in its skull with tiny wires that can play video games with its mind. You can't see where the plant is and it is a happy monkey. We have the most beautiful monkey facilities in the world. We want them to play Mind-Pong each other.”
So says the Taliban of technology who goes by the name of Elon Musk. For those who do not know him, the aforementioned is an entrepreneur who tried to merge Tony Stark and Faust into himself. The merger has produced a trashy shit devoted to bombastic and delusional claims.
In his spare time, when he isn't making useless cars like the Teslas, Musk sticks electrodes into the skulls of mammals. It all started last August when an implant was installed in the skull of a female pig named Gertrude. The animal participated in a press conference together with the Californian Stark and his young scientists - about a hundred - and transmitted its feelings on a screen while running on a treadmill or while drinking milk from a bottle. Now it's the turn of a monkey, transformed into one of the most demential examples of human beings: the “gamer”. Musk stole a primate from his natural environment, put a wig of threads on it and made it a geek. The creator of this science fiction enterprise is keen to point out that the monkey “is happy”. Of course. Next year he will build a laser beam to turn gorillas into disadvantaged cosplayers.
Elon Musk doesn't play “let's pretend I'm God”, oh no, he's a philanthropist and works for the good of humanity. The Neuralink project - what an obvious name - will help fight Alzheimer's and depression. It's all so beautiful, so human, so scientist, so Californian. Nevertheless, the light that illuminates Silicon Valley casts very long and dark shadows.
In a future dominated by digital giants, it will be possible to insert processors into the human brain not only to cure neurodegenerative diseases, but also to implant false happy memories, erase traumatic ones, reset individual memory and rebuild it from the beginning. If the elimination of some memories of violence suffered may be desirable, such technologies will be able to achieve the old totalitarian goal of the "clean slate" of the past. The dictatorships of the future will make those of the twentieth century pass for trifles.
However, without pushing us into such gloomy predictions, a population with such a device placed in its gray matter will have unlimited power over its psyche. It will be used to eliminate any “negative” emotion. The men produced by technology will know neither sadness nor suffering, they will live in a state of permanent euphoria. They will be unable to feel anger, dissatisfaction, desire for revenge.
Some see in post-human society a returned Eden of collective happiness and love, but it is an illusion. An artificially satisfied humanity will resemble, in an impressive way, the Eloi described by H. G. Wells in his most famous novel. Thanks to the technical devilry “generously” offered by Elon Musk's followers, the masses will be reduced to a golden slavery. After working for hours in a euphoric state, they will return to their living cubicles to rest and play video games. They will have millions of digital adventures, but a miserable real existence.
Furthermore, the disappearance of the spectrum of negative emotions from the human soul will make everyone unable to create and enjoy artistic works. Literature, music, painting, poetry are often born from unfulfilled desires and an unease towards the present. These latter states of being will be unknown.
The sense of the tragic, the anguish, the nostalgia, the fear of death - and with them our humanity - will disappear in a technical night.
Original column by Davide Cavaliere:
Translation by Costantino Ceoldo