A major milestone in humanity’s planned merger with machines occurred earlier this week, with Elon Musk saying on Monday that his company Neuralink had successfully implanted a brain-computer interface into a human for the first time.
Musk announced the news on 𝕏, saying that “the first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”
According to Musk, Neuralink’s first product will be called “Telepathy,” as it “enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking. Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal.”
In a Neuralink presentation given in 2020, Musk said the device would eventually enable “non-linguistic, consensual, conceptual telepathy” – that is, telepathy not just between humans and computers, but between humans and humans, consisting of communication of thoughts that transcend mere verbal communication.
During the 2020 presentation, Musk gave a list of problems that he claimed would one day “all be solved with an implantable Neuralink,” which included “memory loss, hearing loss, blindness, paralysis, depression, insomnia, extreme pain, seizures, anxiety, addiction, strokes, [and] brain damage.”
Musk reasoned that since “the neurons are like wiring…you kind of need an electronic thing to solve an electronic problem.”
He also said that Neuralink would eventually give users the ability to "store their memories as a back up…and ultimately you could potentially download them into a new body or into a robot body.”
Though the initial goal is to restore physical and mental deficiencies, Musk has said in the past that the ultimate aim of Neuralink is to achieve a symbiosis between mankind and artificial intelligence.
“On a species-level basis, I think it’s going to be important to figure out how we coexist with advanced artificial intelligence…achieving some kind of AI symbiosis, where you have an AI extension of yourself,” Musk has said, noting that the purpose of such a symbiosis would be to ensure that “the future of the world is controlled by the combined will of the people of earth.”
In order to combat the danger of an ideologically-driven artificial general intelligence (AGI) imposing the woke orthodoxy of Silicon Valley upon the rest of humanity, Musk says he founded Neuralink to make sure AGI instead represents “the sum of our collective will.”
This vision ties into his plans for 𝕏.
Intending to transform it into “a single application that encompasses everything,” Musk has said that “if successful, 𝕏 will evolve to be the collective consciousness of humanity or, more accurately, the human-machine collective.”
Musk is one of many leading figures in the field of AI who believe that evolution is leading to an event known as the Singularity, in which superintelligent machines will far surpass humanity’s intelligence level, and humanity will likely merge with AI.
While Musk’s Neuralink is the most prominent entity working on brain-computer interfaces, Neuralink is not alone.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US government has been working on brain-computer interfaces for half a century.
Dr. Justin Sanchez, the former director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, has publicly said that DARPA is working on achieving “brain-machine symbiosis,” and that the brain-computer interfaces being developed at DARPA and elsewhere “could transform what it means to be human.”
Ray Kurzweil, an AI visionary and transhumanist who works at Google, has also said that evolution is leading to a man-machine merger, thereby transforming humanity forever. Believing that neither man nor machine has an immaterial, spiritual component, Kurzweil has even called into question the metaphysical distinction between the humans and machines of the future:
“Before this century is over, the Law of Accelerating Returns tells us, Earth’s technology-creating species – us – will merge with our own technology. And when that happens, we might ask: What is the difference between a human brain enhanced a millionfold by neural implants and a nonbiological intelligence based on the reverse-engineering of the human brain that is subsequently enhanced and expanded?”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.