Techno-optimists like to say humans are already cyborgs awaiting their next upgrade. Yesterday it was smartphones, today it’s virtual reality goggles, and tomorrow—the brain chip. With each new device, our evolution toward human-machine symbiosis accelerates. That’s obvious when you ask someone for directions and they pull out their phone.
Techno-pessimists largely agree. Tech companies are turning us into cybernetic organisms. The difference is, we’re not stoked about it. Even if “progress” really is “inevitable,” there’s no sense in getting all giddy about nuclear warheads or trans children or smartphone dependency. In light of their vices and virtues, some cultures are better than others.
It’s true that humans are tool-users, by nature, but you have to choose your tools wisely. All technologies fall on a spectrum, albeit with discrete punctuation—from cave painting to the printing press to electrodes that write memes directly onto your wiggling brain cells. Every person has to draw their own lines.
Grimes: A Mutated Generation
Of all the cyber-saints in media—from Bill Gates to Lady Gaga—few are as honest as the techno-pagan pop starlet, Grimes. A bit of a dingbat, sure, but candid nonetheless. You can see why Elon Musk sired two children with her (a son named X Æ A-12, and their daughter, Exa Dark Sideræl, born via a surrogate mother).
Last week Grimes explained to Lex Fridman:
We are becoming cyborgs, like, our brains are fundamentally changed—everyone who grew up with electronics, we are fundamentally different from previous Homo sapiens. I call us “Homo techno.” I think we’ve evolved into Homo techno which is like, essentially a new species.
I think the computers are what make us Homo techno. I think it’s a brain augmentation.
Right on cue, the Twitter sperg-borg picked her theory apart. Darwinian evolution is genetic evolution. Yes, natural selection may act on fit brains and bodies, but it only matters—in evolutionary terms—because the genes get passed on. So you can’t change someone’s species by changing their brain, or their legs, or any outward part of their body.
As usual, the spergs miss the point. But before I defend Grimes, let’s hear a little more about her cyborg sorcery:
Now is the moment to reprogram the human computer. It’s like, if you go blind, your visual cortex will get taken over with other functions.