I know the title of today’s blog sounds far-fetched; what, exactly, is a “monkeyhumarobot”? In a nutshell, its a chimerical creation conjured by mixing a monkey, a human, and a robot. If that sounds like the stuff of science fiction, it is now, unfortunately, the latest creation of scientism and materialism run amok, according to this article shared by V.T.:
Mr. Joe Allen, author of this article, states the case:
It’s been a big month for sci-fi primates. On Apr. 8, Elon Musk’s start-up Neuralink announced they created a cyborg monkey who can play MindPong using a brain chip. The following week, scientists at the Salk Institute in California revealed they successfully grew human-macaque embryos in test tubes. These hybrid babies were aborted at 20 days.
The ethical implications of such experiments are now debated with a resigned shrug. There’s a sense of inevitability to it all. Powerful humans will indulge in any behavior that’s both pleasurable and possible. What could be more pleasurable than playing God?
The practical question isn’t how to stop them, but how to survive in their technocratic age. Where do we draw such boundaries? Do we reflexively reject technology’s terms and conditions? Or, when it’s our turn to get chipped, do we take the plunge?
Ultimately, these are religious questions. Many traditional cultures view living beings as sacred. Each creature is endowed with a spark of consciousness and is therefore deserving of dignity, even those we kill and eat. From this standpoint, tinkering with the fundamental make-up of any living being is a form of blasphemy, especially in the case of humans.
Add to this mix one of Mr. Musk’s “neuralink chips”:
Musk’s wired-up primate is being celebrated as a major breakthrough in cyborg technology. The overall system is fairly simple. Neuralink scientists trained a nine-year-old macaque, Pager, to play Pong and other puzzles on a computer screen using a joystick. Every time the monkey made a correct move, a metal tube squirted banana smoothie into his mouth.
All the while, Pager’s brain was being scanned by two Neuralink chips jabbed into his skull. More than 2,000 wires fanned out into his gray matter, monitoring his motor cortex as he wiggled the joystick and sucked down the banana smoothie. Once the monkey’s neural activity had been correlated with his actions onscreen, the researchers unplugged the joystick.
The cursor kept moving. The monkey was playing a video game with nothing but his brain waves. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed like the cursor moved more smoothly when the Neuralink chip was being employed.
According to Musk’s declared ambitions, this breakthrough is just a stepping stone to inputting Neuralink chips into human skulls, thereby merging our cognition with artificial intelligence.
Mr. Allen also cautions about these developments, and I share his concerns:
Today, your kid needs braces to feel good about her smile. Tomorrow, she’ll need a Neuralink chip to keep up in school. Given the laws of supply-and-demand, the price of fresh fetal tissue could be the crypto bubble of tomorrow. Indeed, that trend appears to be well underway.
Again, the question for regular people isn’t how to stop this technocratic revolution from taking place. Barring some circuit-frying electromagnetic pulse, that ship’s already sailed. The question is how to stay human in this emerging world.
At what point are you just being stubborn? On the other hand, at what point have you sold your soul?
I strongly suspect, however, that what we’re watching is a rather different agenda than simply “bare materialism” and “scientism” run amok. Mr. Allen makes a very interesting observation in this regard:
On Apr. 15, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte and his joint American-Chinese team at the Salk Institute announced the successful fertilization of human-macaque chimeras, a term derived from Greek mythology. In Homer’s “Iliad,” the chimera had a lion’s head, a serpent’s tail, and a goat’s body, and it breathed fire. (Boldface emphasis added)
In my book Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men I reviewed the strange case of German archaeologist Robert Koldewey (1855-1925), credited with the discovery and recovery of Babylon’s Ishtar gate, on which there was a relief of a strange creature called a sirrush, a bizarre chimerical creature with a serpent’s tail, with feline front paws, bird-like talons on the rear legs, and the head of what looks like both a lizard and a unicorn. The problem for Koldewey was that the sirrush appeared in consistent form throughout Babylonian art, whereas other chimerical creatures varied over time. Adding to his difficulty was that the chimerical whatever-it-was also appeared in contexts with other animals that really existed. Koldewey was forced to the conclusion the strange creature might really have existed. World War One was raging at the time, so Koldewey risked publishing his findings and conclusions in 1918. No one really noticed. The strangeness of Koldewey’s sirrush is, to a certain extent though certainly not completely, mirrored by Homer’s chimera.
So what has all this to do with a potential “deeper agenda” behind the modern efforts? Don’t get me wrong here: for most scientists involved in this activity, I suspect the motivation for doing so is simple plain materialism, and the motivation to do so “simply because we can.” But I also strongly suspect that for a narrow few, there are occulted agendas. As I put it in the preface to my book Grid of the Gods, “Modern science is but a technique of the imagination to bring into reality the operations of the magical intellect and the mythologies of the ancients, with consistent and predictable regularity. This implies, therefore, that the magical intellect encountered so often in ancient texts, myths, and monuments is, in fact, the product of a decayed science, but a science nonetheless.”
The question is, if that be the case, why would that narrower group want to do so? Or to put that differently, what’s the motivation and the real agenda?
I have my thoughts on that score, but this is a case of “you tell me.”
See you on the flip side…
cover image credit: azwer/pixabay
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