How 'Upgrade' Can Be Explained by Elon Musk's Neuralink

Whatever happens between now and 2019, let’s agree on this: Don’t let Elon Musk watch the movie Upgrade. We don’t want to give him any ideas.

Back in June, Blumhouse released its small-budget sci-fi thriller Upgrade. It was basically Venom, but instead of a goo monster who cracks wise, the thing controlling the film’s paraplegic protagonist Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) was “STEM,” an A.I. chip planted in Grey’s brain that allows him to walk, kick ass, and pursue the criminals who killed his wife.

The sci-fi thriller is a dark example of the goals (presumably) envisioned by Neuralink, a company founded by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. We say “presumably” because no one besides Musk and his employees knows what Neuralink is up to. Its Wikipedia page is notoriously short, and all of it screams ground zero for a real-life Resident Evil. All we know is that Musk said Neuralink aims to achieve “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”

Anyone else getting “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t let you do that” vibes? Just me?

As recently as November 2018, Musk tweeted about Neuralink, albeit in company with his other ventures like Tesla and the Boring Company (which just had a less-than-stellar preview of its loop prototype).

On November 26, Musk quote-tweeted a Wall Street Journal article about Tesla, to which Musk added, “Join to create exciting new worlds of technology!! If getting things done matters to you, then @SpaceX, @Tesla, @BoringCompany & @Neuralink are the places to be.”

The last time Musk spoke so openly about Neuralink was in April 2017, when he basically explained what he hopes Neuralink will do.

There are certainly some benefits to symbiosis with A.I. (we hope). Upgrade shows that such tech could allow paraplegics resume control of their bodies, which already exists but is in very early stages and not widely available.

No matter what though, don’t let Musk watch Upgrade. See the movie to the end and you’ll know why.

This December, Inverse is counting down the 20 best science moments in science fiction this year. This has been #5.

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