Last week, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk became the largest shareholder of Twitter, owning 9.2 percent of the company. Musk, who has criticized Twitter’s lack of free speech for its users, was appointed as a board member of the company at the time.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk wrote on Twitter in March. But Musk declined to join the company’s board on Monday.
Many conservatives were excited about the prospect of Musk’s new influence at the social media company. Musk has failed to tread lightly around the ever-evolving mores of the modern political left, calling Covid-19 lockdown measures “fascist,” publicly supporting Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates, and criticizing Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” spending bill.
But Musk would be more of a hero if it was obvious that he thought of humanity as more than a highly advanced algorithm.
Survive as a Cyborg
Musk told the World Government Summit in 2017 that as humanity’s daily dependence on technology increases, humans should simply merge with machines.
“To some degree, we are already a cyborg,” Musk told the audience at the summit. For Musk, becoming a cyborg — a sort of superhuman with both biological and technological capabilities — is only one step away. Think Iron Man.
We all love a good superhero movie, but anyone who’s seen one knows what happens to the innocent bystanders. Mary Shelley warned us about this more than 200 years ago.
Become a human-robot hybrid yourself, Musk argues, and mankind may still end up on top when the inevitable robot wars come. True, if the purpose of humanity is simply mere survival, then why should we not ensure our immortal existence as highly intelligent yet soulless machines?
“I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer,” Musk said in an interview in 2016, “Just as your cortex works symbiotically with your limbic system, your third digital layer could work symbiotically with you.”
On Twitter, Musk announced another method by which we could create “symbiosis with machines” — neural lace. Science Alert describes neural lace as, “a brain implant that can augment natural intelligence by hooking us up to computers.” Musk is, it appears, placing his actions behind his words, naming his son a string of letters and numbers (X Æ A-12) that’s more reminiscent of a “Star Wars”-style robot than a human child.
Musk Another Tech-Obsessed Billionaire
Musk founded a company in 2016 to create a chip that would be surgically implanted into the brain. Initially, Musk plans to nobly use this technology to, “enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”
But Musk shows no signs of halting this innovation after assisting quadriplegics. Musk believes we are likely a simulation in an advanced civilization’s high-tech video game, and his brain chip company Neuralink could start testing on humans within the year, according to Fortune.
Musk’s support for a sort of transhumanist future is in line with that of the World Economic Forum’s founder Klaus Schwab, who wrote a book, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” on how the physical and digital worlds could be fused, “challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”
Other than the occasional right-of-center opinion, Musk is a technology-obsessed billionaire with little sense of respect for the inherent dignity of humans as created in the image of God. At best, his philosophy is a decent method of managed defeat to the technological overlords bent on ushering in the era of transhumanism.
A headline for a recent article at The Science Times read: “Live Longer for 150 Years in Metaverse But Only If You Are Willing to Permanently Leave Your Physical Body and Become a Living App.” The temptation to “be ye as Gods” and live forever in our own strength is as old as the Garden of Eden. C.S. Lewis called the progress of “applied science” — his term for technology — “man’s conquest over nature.” Once emancipated from the constraints of nature, Lewis argues, “the conditioners” see no real limit to their control.
As technology continues to advance at a shocking pace, some harbor a not-too-distant hope to finally achieve immortality by the strength of their own genius. In a scientific age of limitlessness, it is of the utmost importance that individuals in power possess decent respect for the dignity of mankind, especially insofar as it conflicts with the progress of science.
Eternal life is only worth pursuing if we have any idea what “life” really is. Is it a simulation or a divine miracle? Musk wants brain implants so we can live forever. After all, who doesn’t want to live forever?
But Musk never considers if humanity is more than a data set, and the question of life is not merely whether we can keep said data set “running.” There is a mystery to human life which should remain at the mercy of the Creator.