Anyone familiar with scientist and inventor extraordinaire Elon Musk knows that he has some visionary ideas for the future.
For example, his Hyperloop transport system, which will be able to move people and cargo at speeds of unto 800 mph, could revolutionize transportation. He is also the founder of Space X, the company behind building interplanetary rockets that will, according to Musk, transport everything required to build a colony on Mars. His reusable interplanetary transport system (ITS) will move 100 people at a time to the off-world base once it is ready for occupation.
The latest creation from Elon Musk is the one that should have you worried.
If you thought the Apple Watch was a bit much, wait until you hear about this.
The next creation from Musk is “Neural Lace” a computer interface implanted directly into the human brain. As one example, it could allow users to connect to the Internet nearly by thinking about it.
It could either be passive, representing an implanted, glorified smartphone, or it could be active and directly communicate back and forth with our mind by interfering with our brain’s thought patterns. Musk is a firm believer that artificial intelligence (AI) will outmaneuver our own in the future, and this could be seen as a way of allowing us to “team up” with it – to keep pace with it, so we aren’t left behind.
It wouldn’t even have to be surgically implanted.
Musk says that, since neurons depend on constant blood flow to function well, a neural lace could be injected into the jugular and then carried, via blood, to the cortical neurons. Such a procedure, though frightening in theory, would be far less invasive than brain surgery. Scientists already figured out how to do so in mice, and hope to do so for humans, too.
It seems obvious that Musk hasn’t watched the latest Terminator movie. If he had, he couldn’t possibly think this is a good idea. Because this is basically like giving Skynet access to the brains of humanity.
Why would anyone think this is a good idea?
Like all good sci-fi stories about computers taking over the world, this one starts with the best of intentions.
Apparently Musk is working on this creation because of his concern that AI (Artificial Intelligence) could ultimately put an end to the human race. He conceded that simple AI technologies that are currently available have their uses, but told the BBC that he is worried that when AI starts “learning”:
“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said.
“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Musk sees his neural lace creation as an alternative to that, a blending of man and machine that would allow both to exist and grow.
There is already research into neural interface.
It’s not as science fiction as it sounds. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) have been working on the Brain Initiative since 2013. The initiative is working towards “self-healing of the body and mind” and part of that are:
- Neural Engineering System Design (NESD)
The NESD program aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide unprecedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the brain and the digital world.
- Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET)
The RE-NET program seeks to develop the technologies needed to reliably extract information from the nervous system, and to do so at a scale and rate necessary to control complex machines.
(If you haven’t watched the documentary Obsolete yet, you need to go do that.)
Ponder just a couple of the worrisome possibilities.
Musk may have good intentions in trying to ensure that humans aren’t outpaced by AI, but as the military research proves, other less benevolent organizations are interested in the same concepts.
Neural lace could provide enemy states with a direct way of interacting with the populace of another country… the ultimate cyber-attack. Think the cyber-attack that took down the East Coast and huge sites like Twitter and Netflix. The attackers used peoples’ own smart gadgets against them. Now, think of the potential for disaster if those gadgets were in human brains.
And who is to say that the only threat would be from foreign attackers? Given their propensity for dishonesty and the pursuit of untethered power, is it really that much of a stretch to believe that the US Government would use technology like this to control the users?
Moreover, what about the AI itself? Creations like this transhumanism interface take us one step closer to our own obsolescence.
July , 2017