Editor’s Note: It is extremely important that supporters of transhumanism understand the opinions of peoples from every nation. I, Kimberly Forsythe, decided to reach out to people from other cultures and asked them to give me their opinions on the topic of transhumanist tech. My goal is to better understand why some may object to the idea based on various cultural differences.
As I receive the essays, I will publish them. My hope is that we can work together to build more international bridges and achieve progress that works for as many people as possible. This commentary on Elon Musk’s Neuralink was written by Mert Basoglu from Istanbul, Turkey.
~ Kimberly Forsythe, Member and Assistant Editor, United States Transhumanist Party, December 11, 2020
The Cautionary Tale of Neuralink
Elon Musk has been in the public eye with his innovations and ambitious projects in various fields such as aerospace, electric car manufacturing, and lately, neurotechnology. Even though I find most of his ideas and innovations worthy of admiration, I believe Neuralink and brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), in general, are somewhat problematic at this stage of human evolution.
First and foremost, I am all for Musk’s idea of treating neurological diseases that used to be untreatable. In consideration, Neuralink’s benefit to society in terms of both physical and mental health would be undeniable if it’s used correctly and responsibly. But, given our history of violence, abuse, and exploitation, I believe we are not ready for this kind of invention as of yet. It is an irrefutable fact that (BMIs) such as Neuralink are highly prone to being misused and weaponized for self-interests or political reasons. This may be a pessimistic view; however, I think of it as a realistic one, as there are oceans of such examples in our history. As a result of this, I think Neuralink or other (BMIs) are revolutionary and great inventions that should have emerged in the future, when our collective consciousness and empathy as a society hopefully progressed further.
Apart from these topics, there are many other concerns regarding Neuralink that beg to be discussed and solved. One example could be the topic of individualism; the paradox of creating a ‘database’ or ‘network’ that is filled with our ‘individual’ thoughts. It begs the question; what happens to the sense of self? Are our thoughts impersonal now? If we transcend humanity, become a collectively transhuman entity, where does our inevitable evil and hunger for destruction go?
To end on a positive note, I would love Neuralink or other BMIs to be useful inventions that we regularly use in our daily lives, but I think we, as humanity, have to cut our afflictions at the roots first.
– Mert Basoglu