No, it is not the pitch of a sci-fi novel, but reality. For Elon Musk, this type of fusion might be our only way not to end up totally overwhelmed by artificial intelligence, reported the Wall Street Journal on March 27th. Easy to say, certainly, but so hard to do? Not really. Here’s how it should happen, if we follow the plan (that has yet to be clarified) of the multi-billionaire.
“We are already cyborgs”
In 2016, Elon Musk felt that we were already intimately connected to machines, recalls The Verge. He pointed out that emails, social networks and smartphones were nothing but increases of human’s power. However, these “super-powers” are limited by the slowness of the current digital and vocal interfaces. He then began to evoke some kind of fusion between Man and Computer.
Merge by necessity
Elon Musk has never hidden it: if he participated in the creation of OpenAI, it is to evaluate the full potential of artificial intelligence in order to protect us from its abuses. This organization, which brings together several big names in Silicon Valley, works on developing an AI working for the greater good of humanity. It is therefore by watching his team work daily on the development of an AI that Elon Musk has deduced that humans should necessarily merge with machines if they wish to remain relevant here below.
He is not the first to have had the idea
Of course, many science-fiction writers have already depicted such a futuristic world where men and women would be forced to connect deeply with machines in the hope to survive. However, in 2015, the experiment was done in a real way. As reported by The Smithsonian Magazine, Charles Lieber, a nanotechnologist at Harvard University, injected a circuit connecting the neurons of an old mouse. His role was to “listen” to the conversations between them and thus interact with the rodent’s brain activity. Motivation, however, was not as frightening as Musk’s, since Lieber simply wanted to find a way to revolutionize our brain’s activity.
Moving to action: creating Neuralink
It is well known that when Elon Musk talks about one of his projects, it is not just small talk. He has already retaken the lead of Tesla to accelerate the development of electric cars and founded SpaceX for contributing widely to space exploration. Therefore logically, in 2016, he launched Neuralink, his biotechnology company. In a long interview with the blog Wait but Why, Musk said he was working on “creating something that helps patients with some serious brain damage (stroke, cancer, congenital disease) in about four years”. This “something” would actually be a cerebral cord to connect directly our brains to computers. The French entrepreneur and transhumanist Laurent Alexandre explained to Usbek & Rica that “the idea is to move the devices through the vessels of the neck, so as not to open the cranial box. These devices are meant to stick between neurons and vessels in order to boost neurons, and allow access to databases or the cloud”.