Elon Musk and Sam Altman are adamant that our brains must become one with artificial intelligence if we don’t want it to subjugate us.
That’s certainly what Elon Musk seems to think. In a long feature published this week, Vanity Fair reminds us that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO doesn’t just think about moving people in bold new ways—he’s also deeply concerned about the impact of artificial intelligence on humankind. In 2014, the great man famously declared that AI was humankind’s “biggest existential threat,” referring to the push to build general intelligence AI as comparable to “summoning the demon.”
He is not alone. Speaking at an event in London on Monday, which MIT Technology Review attended, Y Combinator president Sam Altman voiced similar worries. “If you have AIs and humans, and they’re both trying to enslave each other because they both want the same thing, which is to be a dominant species in the universe, that’s bad,” he mused. “It’s a recipe for conflict every time.”
For Musk, the solution is to embrace the AI rather than fight it. His vision is for a “symbiosis with machines,” enabled by inserting what he calls a neural lace into the brain. This device, he has said, would overcome the fundamental input-output limitation of puny human hardware. As our own Antonio Regalado has pointed out, humans can only transmit 40 bits per second of information when speaking, which Musk has called “ridiculously slow” compared to data rates used in computing.
The Wall Street Journal now reports that he’s established a new company, called Neuralink, to work on this kind of problem. Details are scant, but the company has brain implant and neuroscience specialists on its staff, and the newspaper says that it will initially aim to develop “implants to treat intractable brain disorders.” Further down the line. … (read more)