For the past couple of years, Elon Musk has been working on a secret project that he was very excited about, a project he believes that would be substantially beneficial for humanity.
This week, that veil of secrecy has finally been lifted and that secret project was none other than Neuralink.
Obviously, I cannot just describe Neuralink with accuracy due to the complexity of the matter. Plus, I am not a brain surgeon.
But from what I understand, we’re talking about a super computer linked to a computer chip that can be linked to brain tissue.
This is why many people were quick to script eye-catching headlines like: “Elon Musk WANTS to merge YOUR brain with robots” Or “Elon Musk is trying to upload YOUR consciousness to the cloud”.
Merging your brain with a robot? Sure, in the same way that a pacemaker merges your heart with a robot.
Neuralink seems to operate like some sort of high-precision neural sewing machine.
Personally, I’m always in favor of anything that can save lives and heal people.
We all have friends and/or family members who have been in some sort of life-threatening medical problem, so for me, I would never be against anything that save lives.
Now to the second point: Neuralink picking up brain signals and translating them into a readable code.
At first glance this may sound like a machine that can read your thoughts and record them, which is why so many people have freaked out about it.
But once you get passed the lingo, you’ll realize that things are not as wild as they seem.
All that means is that Neuralink aims to connect to the motor to the motor cortex of the brain, and make improve circulation to both limbs and prosthesis.
Basically your brain being able to send signals to parts of your body that have been previously paralyzed, or to a prosthesis that you can control via your brain.
In fact, the first patients or volunteers will mostly be people with quadriplegia according to Musk himself.
When asked if Neuralink could someday be able to reverse blindness, Musk answered that probably so, but it won’t be for a very long time.
So from there to reading thoughts at some people theorise, it seems like a long stretch.
So far, the only thing that Neuralink seems to be able to do at the moment is to perform some types of brain surgeries with precision and hopefully reversing some types of paralysis in the not so distant future.
I say ‘the only thing’ but that would be a massive breakthrough when you think about it.
However that leaves us with some questions that many people are asking:
Can they upload your consciousness to the cloud? Not likely.
Although there are many people already onboard on the consciousness-uploading train, this is something that is still well within the Science fiction realm.
You can’t just upload your consciousness to the cloud, transfer it to a USB stick and keep plugging it into another bodies in order to live forever.
In fact, that’s even a bigger scam than Theranos.
High-tech necromancy is not real for the same reason that magic necromancy is not real. I mean, some people believe in it, but my guess is: Nobody is switching bodies to remain immortal.
Does Elon hope that we merge with the machine someday?
I would bet on that. In fact, nothing seems to point to the opposite. Elon Musk has always been worried about the future with AI, along with many others.
Plus, Elon himself has said many times that the only way for us humans to survive after the rise of AI is to be able to have the same intelligence, though I have to say, that many other people have said the same thing.
“With a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface, we can actually go along for the ride. We can have the option of merging with AI.”
Does it make sense? Absolutely.
Is it viable at the moment? Not even remotely.
But if the day comes where those AIs are capable to do what the governments of the world want them to do, then having options would be a godbless for all of us.
And that’s where Neuralink can make an even bigger difference if it develops with a similar curve.
The dangers of Neuralink if you ask me are the unintended consequences: That one of your researches cracks the very code that end up enslaving us.
But I understand where he comes from, if you don’t prepare while others are stacking up research into how to create supersoldiers and super slaves… We could be back into another dark ages for human civilization once again.
This is still far in the future, but it’s the future nonetheless.