Last month, Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a neurotechnology company, revealed its plans to develop brain-reading technology over the next few years. One of the goals for Musk’s firm is to eventually implant microchip-devices into the brains of paralyzed people, allowing them to control smartphones and computers.
Although this Black Mirror-esque technology could hold potentially life-changing powers for those living with disabilities, according to Cognitive Psychologist Susan Schneider, it’s not such a great idea, and I can’t help but feel relieved, I’m with Schneider on this.
Musk, who’s also the Chief Executive of both Tesla and SpaceX, aims to make implanting AI in the brain as safe and commonplace as laser eye surgery. But, how would this work? In a video presented unveiled at the California Academy of Science, Musk said the implant would record information emitted by neurons in the brain.
The tiny processors will connect to your brain via tiny threads significantly thinner than a human hair (about 4 to 6 μm in width). These sensors will fit on the surface of your skull and then relay information to a wearable computer that sits behind your ear, called The Link. With this all in place, your brain can then connect to your iPhone via an app — we are truly living in the future and it’s terrifying.
Musk isn’t the only person radicalizing the future of our brain’s. For example, Ray Kurzweil, the futurist and Director of Engineering at Google, said he expects that we’ll be able to back our brains up to the cloud by 2045 — ultimately making us immortal.
But as Schneider points out, we shouldn’t fully invest our trust in the suggestion that humans can merge with AI. Instead, more research should be done around the possibilities and consequences of merging technology with the human brain.