Project Gertrude

As a pig called Gertrude demonstrated Neuralink’s brain implant technology – spiking in mental activity whenever she thought about food before toiling on a treadmill for an inconsequential period of time – you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a new Damien Hirst installation called Downtime’s quarantine experience, sponsored by Domino’s.

It was actually Elon Musk’s way of showing us how paraplegics may soon be able to walk by controlling machines with their minds, although that felt like a noble facade for an ulterior motive: perhaps an early Project Mbappé blueprint for young X Æ A-Xii.

But engineering his part-human son into a soccer star wouldn’t be swashbuckling enough for Musk, would it? Not when a pig’s already taken to the chip so well. No, it’s far more likely we’ll live to see a footballing debut from the intrepid Gertrude, followed by a bidding war for her services between Europe’s petrostate-owned nouveau riche ahead of her winning goal in the World Cup final, no doubt dedicated in post-match interviews to the late Dolly the Sheep.

Is any of this even far-fetched at this point? As Musk put it himself: “This is sounding increasingly like a Black Mirror episode.”

And when you remember what happened to the pig in Black Mirror, clues point to his true plans for Gertrude taking an alarmingly sinister turn.

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