Elon Musk might be the visionary behind Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, but his least known project, Neuralink, just might be his most ambitious. In a live stream from their San Francisco HQ, the advanced AI company provided a detailed overview of their incredible plans but didn’t make the bombshell announcement (or demonstration) that many were hoping for.
How was it immediately obvious Elon Musk is involved with Neuralink? The press conference was delayed even longer than the Tesla Model Y unveil a few months ago. It was a whopping 50 minutes before things got going. The man himself popped out eventually, talking briefly about his talented team at Neuralink and laying out their fundamental purpose to,
“Understand and treat brain disorder, preserve and enhance your own brain and create a well-aligned future.”
In regards to that final point, Musk stated that while the ultimate goal was to create a symbiosis with AI as he stated,
“Even in a benign scenario with AI, we will be left behind. It’s important to have the option of merging to secure humanities future as a civilization.”
Anybody looking for a groundbreaking demonstration was always going to be disappointed, as the presentation stressed early on that the primary purpose of the conference was for recruiting purposes. Nonetheless, it was an illuminating and detailed overview of a very exciting project, at the forefront of brain-machine interface technology.
In his typical style, Elon Musk made a bold prediction that Neuralink would have their chip in a human patient by the end of 2020. The company’s president, Max Hodak, then went into detail on the technological concept behind the project, outlining how the plan is for you to be able to eventually manage your implant with an iPhone app.
Mr. Hodak also described how the first human patients are expected to be quadriplegic, with the hope that the initial (N1) device might help create functioning limbs for paralyzed individuals.
The potential uses of this new technology are mind-blowing. But could they be literally mind-blowing? Research has already demonstrated that intelligence beyond a certain level makes life practically unbearable.
Elon Musk’s aspiration for the neurolace brain-computer promises to be a way to elevate human cognition to a level where it could combat AI. The question is whether human emotions are able to cope with their newfound super-intelligence.
Naturally, FDA approval is essential and there may be mental hurdles as well as physical to overcome. Based on the quality of Neuralink’s presentation, if anyone can answer that question, it’s them.
The potential ethical concerns Neuralink’s technology might create are obviously going to emerge. During the Q&A session, the issue of testing on animals was also raised, and Max Hodak shrugged it off as an unfortunate but essential part of the development process.
Musk’s response to the naysayers is clear. If you are “summoning the demon” of AI, you better be ready to fight back.
Last modified: July 2, 2020 8:29 PM UTC