With recent huge advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the next step is set to be merging both the machines and humans together, according to recent reports. AIs are very quickly beginning to surpass humans with their intelligence, including beating humans at games such as Go and poker, as well as other actions such as driving safely and even treating illnesses. The number of tasks that intelligent machines are becoming better at than humans is constantly increasing as the technology develops.
Due to this, predictions have already been made that AI is expected to surpass humankind at an unprecedented rate. Therefore, Elon Musk has come up with an unconventional and highly controversial brain-computer interface, which essentially merges the two together. Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai earlier this month, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO and founder raised the point of a possible symbiosis between humans and machines once again, saying, “I do think there is a path to having some sort of merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence.”
Musk went on to explain that in a way this is already happening, “To some degree, we are already cyborgs. You think of the digital tools that you have, the applications that you have. You can ask a question and instantly get an answer from Google. You already have a digital tertiary layer. I say ‘tertiary’ because you think of the animal brain or the primal brain, and then the cortex, the thinking brain, and then your digital self as the third layer.” Justin Sanchez, the director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, explained in an interview with Computer World that it was something that the DARPA (the research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense) have also been considering. He said, “There are a couple of very interesting things happening as we speak facilitating humans and machines working together in a very different way.”
Recent reports have also suggested that in one way or another this merging is already occurring in some forms. The introduction of exoskeleton technology was used as one example, as we now have smart exoskeletons that have helped paralyzed people walk again or improve the strength and endurance of the average person. Sanchez added, “I think the recent science and technology developments we’re making at DARPA, as well as the embracing of physiology and A.I., is enabling us to set up the conditions for profound changes on how humans and machines can work together. We are giving our physiology the opportunity to work with machines in a different way.”
Researchers from SARPA are currently working to develop implantable devices that can perform particular computer functions that are similar to those of a computer. In advancement of this, Sanchez also mentioned that researchers are working on the possibility of a “human-computer interface using devices and chips” that would not need to be implanted in the body, as well as special contact lenses that will allow soldiers to see what a drone is seeing from above. Although there is a world of developmental possibility for machinery and robots, the implication on the human world must also be considered. Sanchez said, “We deeply feel that we can’t do this work in a vacuum. We need to consider all aspects … the moment we try to even start thinking about science and technology in this space. There’s a responsibility that goes along with this.”
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