Thousands of people are clamoring to have an eccentric billionaire implant a microchip into their brain.
That’s not just what’s going in real life with Elon Musk’s Neuralink, it’s also the plot of the 2015 spy caper “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” which shares a bunch of eerie similarities to Musk’s real life plans.
Neuralink received approval for human trials in May. And according to a Bloomberg report from Musk biographer Ashlee Vance, thousands of people are lining up for the opportunity.
The process will involve the patient having “a chunk of their skull removed by a surgeon so a large robot can insert a series of electrodes and superthin wires into their brain,” Vance wrote.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service,” which stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and Taron Egerton, features a similar neural implant as a key plot point.
In the movie — which parodies British spy films like the “James Bond” series — eccentric tech tycoon Richmond Valentine, played by Jackson, announces a plan to give everyone in the world SIM cards with free phone and internet access.
The catch? The SIM has to be implanted in your brain.
Meanwhile, a climate change scientist is killed when his chip — implanted behind his ear like Neuralink — explodes.
As the movie progresses, it transpires that Jackson’s character can control the chips remotely, and wants to put into motion a Malthusian plan to cut the increasing global population by triggering a signal from the chips that makes their users kill each other.
It turns out that the chips have been implanted in the brains of the global elite, from wealthy executives to the head of the secret service, with the elites signing up to Valentine’s plan in exchange for protection from his deadly signal.
But the plan is scuppered as the secret agent Eggsy, played by Egerton — a member of the organization “Kingsman” — sneaks into Valentine’s bunker, while another agent hacks into the implants and makes them explode, killing the elite.
The film, which grossed over $400 million worldwide, came out two years before Neuralink was founded — though it seems unlikely Musk took any inspiration from a mid-budget action movie for his plans.
It’s also unlikely Musk will look to ape Jackson’s fictional Valentine by controlling people’s minds with Neuralink’s chips, or cutting the world’s population. Musk is certainly not a believer in depopulation, and has frequently stated his belief that the planet needs more people on it, not less.
Neuralink is also evidently wary of any potential accidents.
Shivon Zilis, Neuralink’s director of special projects and mother of twins with Musk, joked with Vance — referring to a number of failed rocket launches for SpaceX, another of Musk’s companies: “We can’t blow up the first three. That’s not an option here.”
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