Inside Neuralink, Elon Musk’s New Brain Child.
One of the biggest fears of our generation is that in a not so far off future, human intelligence will be pretty much redundant in the work-space as we would be ill-equipped to contend with the super intelligence that the blossoming field of AI is no doubt going to bring forth.
Another even bleaker vision of the future holds that we’d be slaves and menials to the dark AI overlords who will be the rulers of the universe and masters of the galaxy (thanks Hollywood).
But while debates continue to rage over the feasibility of either outcomes, Elon Musk (billionaire genius, real life Tony Stark) isn’t content to sit around and do nothing, the guy who gave us SpaceX, Tesla Motors and the Boring Company has started a new company, Neuralink, whose goal is to meld human intelligence with artificial intelligence (Goodbye, AI Overlords)
The company (Neuralink) which was founded in 2016, has spent the last couple of years working on developing implantable brain-computer interface that enhances human intelligence significantly.
While Neuralink’s goal in the short run is to treat various forms of brain or spine-related disorders, an example would be helping paraplegics to use mobile phones and computers.
In the long run, If Neuralink succeeds, we’d basically become real life cyborgs (think Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator), we’d be running on software and we’d be able to process information at the same speed artificial intelligence does.
In case you were wondering how Neuralink works, well here is a condensed version, a chip implant with electrolyte threads is inserted into your brain by a neuro-surgery robot specifically created for this purpose and they are tunneled under your scalp to a conductive coil behind your ear, the coil then connects to a wearable device called the Link which basically links your brain to digital interface, the whole procedure supposedly takes between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
In the event that Neuralink is successful which seems possible as human testing is scheduled to start next year and they have successfully conducted testing on rats and a monkey, there is going to be a pretty major upheaval in how we live life and what we know as the natural order of things, things that once seemed unlikely and fictional are going to be everyday occurrences, we’d be able to control any wireless device with just the power of thought, telepathy (instant communication via thought) is also not far off.
However, this also raises some major ethical concerns as regards data and information privacy, tech corporations haven’t really proven that they can be trusted with our data and there is a whole lot more than Facebook Information at stake here, It is you providing a software access to the whole catalogue of your thoughts, that raises a major red flag here, Not only can the software be hacked, Neuralink is a business first and foremost, God knows what they might choose to do with all of that information, we’d definitely be more susceptible to their influence, that’s for sure.
And while you might be tempted to scoff at the premise of the Neuralink and dismiss it as unlikely and far off into the future, I’d love to remind you that ten years ago, we couldn’t conceive of how we’d be living now, Facebook was just becoming the global phenomenon that it is now, twitter was only 3 years old, there was no Instagram and Snap Chat, Uber and Bolt seemed unfeasible, the only major smartphone you had was the IPhone 3GS, technologies that are now commonplace and that we can’t seem to live without.
Given the increasing research & development of fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning and neuroscience, the notion that Neuralink might soon become a constant in our daily lives doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, also it’s Elon Musk we are talking about here (if he wasn’t so lovable, he’d be terrifying)
While Neuralink is obviously not mandatory, no one would probably want to be left out of something like this, it will be like not owning a smartphone in this day and age.
Thanks to shows like Black Mirror, we are becoming increasingly wary of technology and it’s effect in society and one thing is for certain, the future Neuralink implies is one that is both exciting and terrifying in equal measures for humanity.
I’d love to know what you think, Share your thoughts below