SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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First thought on reading this is how sci-fi and how well this matched to some of the film clips we watched in our together tube sessions. However as the article highlights, we are already implanting devices in the brain, the most successful being a device that can stop tremors in Parkinson’s sufferers. Perhaps because this is not more widespread, it still seems like science fiction, but Musk’s area of interest goes that little further and it’s about writing and saving information to and from the brain. It’s all about cognition, about improving ourselves through a technology link.
In reading this article and reminding myself of the current extent of research in this field, it’s taking me back (in thought) to the beginning of our EDC journey, to the first few weeks where I battled to understand the concept of cyborg, not as in the sci-fi movie sense but from some of our readings like Miller(2011) and Hayles (1999) where I grappled with the concept of cyborg being much closer to home, where Miller (2011) explains cyborg as “the growing number of ways that technological apparatuses have been used to fix and alter the human body”, which still sounds “out there” but is actually talking about such mundane things as eyeglasses and prosthetic limbs, body modification and gym membership.
Hayles (1999) however is probably much more relevant to the intention of Musk in this article, in her paper she talked about her amazement that any scientist could genuinely consider the idea that the human consciousness could be separated fro the body. Even in reading this article and hearing that this is indeed the subject of research in 2017, I still find myself agreeing with Hayles on this one and thinking, come on get real!
Hayles, N. Katherine (1999) Towards embodied virtuality from Hayles, N. Katherine, How we became posthuman: virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics pp.1-25, 293-297, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press.
Miller, V. (2011) Chapter 9: The Body and Information Technology, in Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage.