In 2018 we truly live in an age of technology with whole teams of scientists and engineers coming up with new, astonishing inventions.
Only a decade ago, many of these creations would have belonged solely in the world of science-fiction but now, they’re a reality.
We have power armour and super suits just like the ones Tony Stark uses in Iron Man, the ability to make certain objects ‘invisible’ through the use of a cloaking device, and energy weapons just like the ones in Star Trek.
Now it looks like another science-fiction idea is about to become a reality thanks to none other than technological extraordinaire, Elon Musk.
Appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast last week, Musk stated he’ll soon be announcing a new product – Neuralink – which’ll connect your brain to a computer, thus making you superhuman.
And before you say ‘come on, he was high on that show’, this was before he drank all that whiskey and smoked what appeared to be a joint.
Speaking about Neuralink to the American comedian, Musk teased the product, saying:
I think we’ll have something interesting to announce in a few months that’s better than anyone thinks is possible. Best case scenario, we effectively merge with AI.
It will enable anyone who wants to have superhuman cognition. Anyone who wants. How much smarter are you with a phone or computer or without? You’re vastly smarter, actually.
You can answer any question pretty much instantly. You can remember flawlessly. Your phone can remember videos [and] pictures perfectly. Your phone is already an extension of you. You’re already a cyborg.
Most people don’t realise you’re already a cyborg. It’s just that the data rate, it’s slow, very slow. It’s like a tiny straw of information flow between your biological self and your digital self. We need to make that tiny straw like a giant river, a huge, high-bandwidth interface.
Now, that’s a good argument as the majority of us are addicted to our phones – we’re never without them – but as the Tesla CEO says, while we humans are pretty smart, it can take our brains a while to receive information or calculate things unlike a computer. So why not try connect the two and see what happens.
The Neuralink company was actually founded two years ago, by Musk and eight others who’ve been working hard developing implantable brain–computer interfaces, better known as BCIs.
While in the short-term the company’s aim is to use the technology to treat brain diseases, Musk’s eventual goal is human enhancement, which he believes will make us more intelligent and powerful than even AI.
If your biological self dies, you can upload into a new unit. Literally. The merge scenario with AI is the one that seems like probably the best. If you can’t beat it, join it.
So if we do ever go to war against AI – just like in all those science-fiction films we love – it looks like Musk not only has our back, but he’ll be the hero who saves the day.
To be honest though, I’d just rather avoid the AI war in general – those Terminator films are scary!
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.