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Extremely Hardcore Considered Harmful
This part isn't funny.
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So, my original plan for today was to write about Neuralink's latest announcement and what it really meant, which was less than what Elon Musk made it out to be.
He revealed that the company’s first two intended applications for its technology would be to help people with paralysis use their digital devices seamlessly and to restore vision in those who have lost their eyesight. “Even if someone has never had vision ever, like they were born blind, we believe we can still restore vision,” Musk said. While the presentation didn’t show any proof of vision restoration, it did include a video demonstration of how Neuralink’s implant had been used to stimulate a visual sensation—a flash of light—in a monkey’s brain.
But that was all the back on December 1. There's a new story now.
In all, the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, following experiments since 2018, according to records reviewed by Reuters and sources with direct knowledge of the company’s animal-testing operations. The sources characterized that figure as a rough estimate because the company does not keep precise records on the number of animals tested and killed. Neuralink has also conducted research using rats and mice.
I'm at a loss for words. 1500 dead animals is unthinkable, and the company's failure to keep accurate records says everything we need to know about how they feel about those animals. Most corporations keep better track of stationary supplies.
Neuralink has drawn suspicion since they've been in business. As Wired points out in the article above, they posted a video in 2021 of a macaque playing Pong with no hands. In 2005, a human was already doing the same thing. But Neuralink has consistently represented their products as breakthroughs.
Part of Neuralink's 2020 update was parading around a pig that had had its implant safely removed, presumably to demonstrate how safe and humane the implants are. Now, we know the truth.
There might be something interesting and even revolutionary in the machinery Neuralink is developing to implant these chips, but focusing on that wouldn’t give a billionaire a chance to bloviate about human to computer interfaces and storing memories.
And there’s no need to sacrifice 1500 animals to develop it, especially when you consider that they’re retreading ground that was covered more than a decade ago, and that one of their current competitors has already moved on to more human trials.
This is what extremely hardcore gets you.
I failed to mention Chokepoint Capitalism on Tuesday. If you want to learn how to fight back against the big tech and big content, check it out. It's on my holiday reading list.
Yes, that's an Amazon link to a book about fighting monopolies. That's where I have to link if I want to get anyone to actually buy a book. It's part of the problem.
Bandcamp distributes DRM-free music while giving musicians the bulk of the purchase price and paying them a fair amount of money for streaming. So, buying and/or streaming music from there is one way to fight back.
It’s also a great place to find the ambient stuff I listen to while writing.
Here’s a pre-release track from a Ukrainian artist. Check it out and pre-order the album if you enjoy it.
Use of Killer Robots Also Considered Harmful
San Francisco has reversed their decision to allow the police to arm their robots.
The Great War of the Worlds
This post needs some science fiction.
I'm about halfway through revisions on my first novel. I expect to have my cover art done in a week or so.
I'm considering posting a chapter or two here, but it would also be off-topic. I won’t turn this Substack into a showcase for my fiction, but if enough people are interested, I could add a chapter once in a while.
Let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in seeing it.