The title of this blog is a quote from futurist and entrepreneur, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX. I love Elon Musk! Sometimes I think Elon is single-handedly trying to drag the rest of the country into the 21st century. Elon said in a recent interview, “we are already cyborgs,” a reference to our use of social media online. Because most of us already have an internet presence and use the internet’s resources for everything from communication and research to art and science, we interface with the digital realm daily. That interface is what technically classifies us as “already cyborgs.”
The problem is, Elon says, we have input-output inequality. While we can input huge amounts of data simply by using our eyes, our method of outputting data is primitive — we use our fingers and thumbs to type text on a keyboard. Our output method is brutally slow and inefficient. Eventually it will have to change. Elon is proposing a new kind of organic-digital interface to speed up our output. He calls it a “neural lace mesh.”
A neural lace mesh would be a microscopically small, organic, mesh imbedded with tiny electronic components. This mesh would be rolled up and injected by syringe into brain tissue. This way, the neural lace could interact directly with the cortex of our brains and output information without us having to use our fingers and thumbs! Finally, our human brains will be directly interfacing with the digital universe. This is a significant first step towards the game- changing event Ray Kurzweil calls The Singularity. Can this really happen? Research and experimentation have already begun with mice and, if promising, will eventually move to humans.
Elon Musk believes finding a new way for humans to merge with machines is imperative. He fears the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) might one day result in a digital intelligence far superior to our own. If humans are left behind, in terms of intelligence, the AI might decide human life is, at worst, something that must be destroyed. Or, at “best,” the AI might decide to keep us around as the equivalent of a pet — humans as house cats! For me, that’s more than enough incentive to root for the creation of a true human-machine merger — a way to increase our human brain power and take our imaginations to the next level!