Musk has been known to be very outspoken when it comes to AI, painting pictures of the potential dangers and outcomes should the technology be developed unchecked. To some, his concepts and fears are today’s science fiction, however with AI innovation continuing to gain ground, he offers a different perspective regarding the Singularity.
“I think if we can effectively merge with AI by improving the neural link between your cortex and your digital extension of yourself … then effectively you become an AI-human symbiote,” said Musk. “And if that then is widespread, and anyone who wants it can have it, then we solve the control problem as well. We don’t have to worry about some evil dictator AI because we are the AI collectively. That seems like the best outcome I can think of.”
Musk has mentioned a possible “neural lace” that would create human-AI hybrids, and he extends his thoughts to new startups. When asked what would be his focus if he were a 22-year-old entrepreneur today, Musk highlights AI and genetics, but mentions the former as a potential application of linking our brains to computers.
“I think having a high-bandwidth interface to the brain… we’re currently bandwidth-limited,” says Musk.
“We have a digital tertiary self in the form of our email capabilities, our computers, phones, applications. We’re practically superhuman. But we’re extremely bandwidth-constrained in that interface between the cortex and that tertiary digital form of yourself. And helping solve that bandwidth constraint would be, I think, very important in the future as well.”
One comment may be of interest to university students who may be the future of innovation. Regarding academia, Musk disagrees that the majority of next generation tech and science geniuses will come from a traditional educational background. When asked if a Ph.D degree itself is useful, Musk says, “Mostly not … Some yes, but mostly not.”
In an unrelated comment, answering a question about his apparent fearlessness in the face of challenges while innovating, Musk says, “I actually think I feel fear quite strongly. It’s not as though I just have the absence of fear. I feel it quite strongly. There are just times when something is important enough that you believe in it enough that you do it in spite of fear.”
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