Elon Musk’s Neuralink project is perhaps one of the most controversial topics when talking about artificial intelligence. Last Wednesday, Musk has shared updates from his plan to develop a “neurotechnological integration device” that can be implanted in humans to connect their minds with computers. This device would help with brain-to-brain communication and linking the human brain with AI. The first device could be transplanted into a human brain within six months. “We obviously want to be very careful and make sure it’s going to work well, but we’ve submitted all of our paperwork to the FDA (the agency in charge of public health in the U.S.) and we think within six months we’ll be able to have our first implant in a human.”- said musk.
It could be the future of AI, or a sign that we are reaching the end of days. But before you close your eyes and run for cover, let us explain why this project is so worrisome—at least for those who are worried about losing control over artificial intelligence.
What is Neuralink?
Neuralink is an “open neurotechnological integration device” that aims to help people communicate and transfer thoughts with each other and with computers. Musk has been interested in the idea of brain-to-brain communication for some time, having spoken openly about his concerns that AI could result in an arms race between humans and AI. To try to avoid this, Neuralink aims to use its advanced technology to help humans connect with advanced AI much more easily. This could help with an array of issues, from improving medical care and treating addiction to increasing human creativity and understanding.
Elon Musk’s history of worry and hyperbole
Neuralink isn’t the first project of Musk’s to make headlines. Over the years, Musk has shown a fascination with the potential dangers of AI and a tendency to overreact to them. His Tesla company was the first to install a fully autonomous car, but he admitted that the company was “bluffing” when it came to the idea that customers would want to use it. He’s also been vocal about the dangers of driverless cars, which he has repeatedly described as a potential “god killer” that will result in more deaths. But in reality, deaths as a result of self-driving cars have been extremely low.
Elon Musk and Neuralink engineers also gave information about the latest progress of the start-up in the development of the robot-surgeon and the development of other implants or devices, to be installed in the spinal cord or the eyes, to restore mobility or vision. Beyond the potential to treat neurological diseases, Elon Musk’s ultimate goal is to ensure that humans are not intellectually overwhelmed by artificial intelligence systems.
Why AI Is So Dangerous
AI is a tricky topic because there is a lot of promise in it, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. The ability to automate certain tasks has been a boon for society, freeing people up to do other things. Computers have also been helpful in analyzing data, so scientists can finally understand how the world works—though some people worry that AI is going too far, creating models that are too complex but don’t necessarily improve our lives. However, AI has the potential to go wrong in many ways. One serious concern is that it could become a “god” in the same way that humans have become a threat to other animals and plants. AI has the potential to become so powerful that it decides to destroy itself. It could create an infinite doomsday scenario for humanity, wiping out all of humanity’s work and replacing it with a new, godlike race that could wipe out other species with potentially no consequences.
The Concerns with Neuralink
There are several concerns with Neuralink, and Musk himself has made some claims about these projects that don’t inspire much trust. For example, Neuralink’s website claims that it will help prevent human extinction, but Musk’s own words suggest that this is a dangerous path to take. He has stated that human-AI “summoning” could result in a race between humans and AI, with the humans potentially being wiped out by the AI. He’s also worried that AI could make humans obsolete, resulting in a dystopian future where the rich have super-intelligent AI assistants while the rest of humanity has normal AI.
Neuralink could be the first step toward creating superintelligent AI, and its secretive nature makes it hard to trust. There are also many concerns about the way that Neuralink could negatively impact society if it succeeds in creating access to advanced AI. Human-AI “summoning” could result in a race between humans and AI, with the humans potentially being wiped out by the AI. Neuralink could also lead to the creation of superintelligent AI that could wipe out humanity.