Elon Musk to showcase a ‘working Neuralink device’ on 28 August

Elon Musk is developing brain-machine interface technology. And while we’re not sure how we feel about introducing artificial intelligence (AI) to the human brain, it sure is groundbreaking.

Neuralink’s neurotech

Musk confirmed on Twitter that Neuralink will be hosting a live webcast on Friday 28 August 2020 “to demonstrate a brain-machine interface”, or BMI for short. We will share the webcast as soon as a live stream is set up.

As reported by The Verge, Musk believes that BMI devices will “help humans keep up with AI by supplementing our brainpower, but right now, his goal is much simpler”.

Musk’s BMI device will allow people to control phones or computers with their mind. Neuralink “wants to connect to the brain using flexible electrodes thinner than a human hair”, called threads.

Two sides to a story

When Musk founded Neuralink, he explained that the existential risk we’re facing with artificial intelligence and said we’re going to have the choice of either being left behind and being “effectively useless”.

“Like a house cat or something… Or eventually figuring out some way to be symbiotic and merge with AI. A house cat’s a good outcome, by the way”, he joked.

Several scientists have given their support to the project as BMI devices could potentially be used to assist individuals with neurological disorders, while others have cautioned against its use.

‘AI will bring immense productivity’

In a 2018 interview, Bill Gates said that the rise in artificial intelligence will mean society will be able to do more with less, and cited developments in agriculture as an example.

Gates explained that agricultural challenges in the past included not producing enough food and experiencing setbacks when the weather was bad which resulted in people starving. He added:

“Now through better seeds, fertilizer, lots of things, most people are not farmers. And so AI will bring us immense new productivity”.

‘AI could spell the end of the human race’

That said, Gates also cautioned against the use of AI, saying it will change the world as we know it. He said it would start off seemingly innocent and that “machines will do a lot of jobs for us”, but then added:

“That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern”.

The late theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, said humans are limited by slow biological evolution. Hawking feared the advent of AI as it could mean the end of the human race.

If it gets to a point where there’s a struggle between AI and humanity, we would be holding the shorter straw, so to speak.

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate”.

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