The startup Neuralink, founded in 2016 by Elon Musk, recently received an FDA approval as breakthrough device for their v0.9 implantable brain-computer interface (BCI).
This is a milestone for the company, as it enables limited human testing.
A pig named Gertrude has had such an implant for two months.
According to Musk the pig is happy and healthy. The received data, at this stage via Bluetooth, could even be used to make predictions regarding joint movements.
Neuralink is already causing controversy today…
…and will do so even more in the future.
When I asked on Twitter, whether users would have such a device implanted themselves, I received emotional responses. Most were either a clear yes or no.
The topic polarizes the masses. Ultimately it is about transhumanism and ethical as well as religious questions play an important role.
The central issue is not a question of technology, e.g. whether genetics or computers should to improve humans.
The question is whether we should do that at all. And that‘s not an easy one.
In my opinion, this is also the reason why Neuralink focuses on medical applications for their products in the first step – especially in official communication channels. The acceptance there is much higher.
However, following Elon Musk for some time now, I‘m sure his fear of a possible AI supremacy certainly plays in here.
The Role of a possible AI Superintelligence
Nick Bostrom shows in his excellent book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies which dangers pose AI.
Musk is of the opinion that we as humanity have to improve ourselves to keep up. In my opinion this is the main goal of Neuralink.
BCIs are really nothing new and not only the US military is very interested in such a technology, as a recent DARPA program reveals.
Nevertheless, Musk has shown the world more than once, that he is able to lead startups to success – against all odds.
In this very case, the impending danger (if real or not) of AI superintelligence motivates Musk additionally.
I am sure that if he is successful, he will change the world of computing forever.
Does this mean that we are all on our way to become cyborgs?
Will we experience true empathy by feeling what others feel?
Would you implant a BCI without medical indication?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section or on Twitter.
Image Source: Pixabay, Pixabay License