Last week, Neuralink, Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup, aired a video of a Macaque Monkey playing MindPong using only its brain after a coin-sized computer chip was implanted and connected to its brain with more than two thousand electrodes. The idea, according to Neuralink, is to develop a chip that will enable paralytics to perform independently many things they cannot do today by simply using their minds.
This may sound terrific, but it really gives me no joy. Before I got into the wisdom of Kabbalah, I might have been happy to hear such news, but now, I do not feel this way. All I know is that even if we sacrifice all the animals, and even ourselves, on the altar of innovations in biotechnology, it will not help us be happier people. We need to take a completely different route.
I understand why entrepreneurs do these things: they’re kids, and they like to play with such games, but this is not a good example; it is really not a good example. If anything, what they are doing to the monkeys reminds me of what the Nazis did to people. This is how I feel about it, truly. When I started my scientific career as a bio-cyberneticist, I might have appreciated such things since I, too, was dealing with the functioning of systems in the human body. But today, fifty years down the line, I cannot view this favorably. It is simply not the way to make life better. If there is any benefit in these investments, it is the realization of their futility and our need to look elsewhere for happiness.
What we do need to implant, and for which there is no chip, is caring in our hearts. This cannot be done by surgery, but through an educational process. It may take years, but in the end, we will really change from within, and then everything will change from without. It is not new technology that we need, but a new spirit—a spirit of kindness, caring, and mutual responsibility. If we join hands in planting this spirit in society, we will also implant it in our hearts.