Cost Vs Benefit: Is NeuraLink both ethical and practical and is it a potential solution to the potential AI takeover?
Ethical? A solution to the AI takeover?"
"After solving a bunch of brain related diseases there is the mitigation of the existential threat of AI... This is the point of it." - Elon Musk
What Is Neuralink?
Unless you've been brain-washed to forget by some unbeknownst futuristic AI, you're likely to have heard about a man by the name of Elon Musk. What Elon hopes to do with Neuralink is ultimately control devices with just the power of thought. Elon has been pretty open with his concerns surrounding AI. Elon thought the solution to this would be to make a device to help us paesant humans try to keep up with the seemingly unavaoidable future where AI has the potential to become more of a threat than an asset.
How's it work?
Neuralink uses a 4mm square chip which is called the N1. This is then implanted on the skull. Wires "thinner then human hair" are then tethered from the chip to the brain through a small incision through the skull and onto the brain. The wires are attached to the parts of the brain where messages are detected and relaed between neurons. There is also another device that connects to the chip wireless that the user wears on their ear via bluetooth. For now and human trials (which are supposed to begin very soon, the surgery is done by a neurosurgeon but they are also concurrently working on a robot that will be able to do this process very simply, precisely, and painlessly.
Is it ethical?
There is a lot of debate around the ethics of this practice. While it truly is something out of a sci-fi movie, it comes with backlash. Many feel that there is a lot of potential to go wrong here or cause harm here. Now, this is an extremely valid concern especially given it's bluetooth design. Bluetooth is vulnerable to many forms of hacking. What happens if someone gains access and causes immense pain to the user, potentially even killing them. These are all things that need to be considered heavily.
Where are we at now?
Neuralink, as mentioned previously, plans to start human trials very soon. While the device was initially meant for keeping us up to par with the advancement of AI (more on that later) current trials point to them testing it on patients with existing brain damage such as stroke, cancer lesions, etc, in as little as four years according to Musk. They have already made progress on this and it was revealed in a presentation that they have already been able to have a monkey sucessfully control a computer. Now, to what extent is unknown, but this is insaley cool progress regardless.
What in the AI?
Yes, Elon is concerned about the global uprising in AI. His initial vision with this project was to "help secure humanity’s future as a civilization relative to AI". . He claims that we will be able to simply download another language and know how to speak it. I'd like to leave the rest pretty open ended. Do you think this will stop the rise of AI from going rogue? Will this just make it easier for the AI to control us? I personally believe that if a truly intelligent AI acheived general intelligence it would be extremely hard to prevent an AI from learning how to take control of these devices. It's very possible these could backfire. What hpapens if you miss a software update or don't have internet to download it and now you're "vulnerable". Only this would not simply leave passwords and/or your home wifi vulnerable. It could potentially leave your existence as you know it up to the AI. There needs to be extremely tight restrictions around this device to prevent this scenario.
I must confess, I don't have the highest opinion of Elon Musk's ability to pontificate on the future of A.I. And if advanced A.I. turns against humanity, I fail to see how having computer chips embedded in human brains will save us. Lots of interesting questions there though, relating to the concept of *transhumanism*.ReplyDelete