So there is this great article that has been going around the social-sphere all day about Neuralink, a new Elon Musk venture that aims to basically melt computers into our brains so that we can download and upload thoughts the same way computers do. What’s more is that the way we’ll do this is by implanting electrodes in our brains. Then, just like computers, we’ll be able to send each other information, or pull it from some database of information.
So here is a conversation that will probably happen in the Neuralink-future:
6:00:00 p.m. (person 1): Have you heard the new Kendrick Lamar album? It’s FIYA!
6:00:15 p.m. (person 2): No, but hold on let me download it to my brain.
6:00:20 p.m. (person 2): Holy shit I just listened to the whole thing because my brain is a computer. However, I can’t determine whether or not I enjoyed it because my brain is a computer.
As that happens, Keanu Reeves will be in your brain shooting bad guy viruses and dodging bullets.
Yes… yes I am.
I can’t make up my mind on how I feel about this. I mean, one side of my brain thinks that humanity (I’ve written this before BTW) is destined for a cross between WALL-E and Idiocracy. I basically see a world where we live in chairs and drink nutrient-dense Big-Gulps and robots follow us around and keep us alive.
The other half of my brain thinks that we can use the technology Neuralink is trying to develop and solve all of the issues humanity faces. The initial goal is to cure brain injuries in humans brought about by stroke, cancer lesions, etc. Beyond that, it’s not hard to imagine this technology solving things like illiteracy, or even monitoring the entire body for any signs of cancer and self-fixing anything at a cellular level before it spreads.
I remember reading an article a few years ago about some Nobel prize winning scientist who was on his deathbed and saying his greatest regret was that he wouldn’t be able to see how far the field of medicine would go in the next 25 years. I think the arc of humanity has seen such a rush of ideas in the last 50 years in regards to technology. I mean, from 4,000,000 B.C.-1900, we basically made fire and figured out how to put that inside a metal box and make things move. Then, fast forward 70 years, and we learned how to fly, played golf on the moon, and sent live video from one side of the globe to the other in real time. Fast forward another 50 years, and we can share information instantly with the entire world through computers, cured just about every single disease known to human existence, and even taught the human body to eat 73 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
What I’m getting at is that technology is exciting and it’s generally good for mankind, but at what point are we going to design ourselves out of existence? That article I linked to at the beginning of this rant talks about how humans got to the top of the food chain because we are the first and only species to think complex thoughts. If computers can do that a million times faster and more efficiently than we can, where do we stack up in the pecking order?
I guess to wrap it all up, I feel more excited than not about what we are doing with Neuralink and I hope Elon Musk figures it out. Rumor has it, he’s a pretty smart guy so I’d give him a fighter’s chance. I think as long as we figure out how to use technology to enhance our existence rather than replace it, we should try and push things as far as we can. I just hope that we figure it out before the Terminators come.