If it was anyone besides Elon Musk expressing sincere concerns regarding the threat of Artificial Intelligence achieving the singularity within the next five to ten years, the sentiment may be dismissed with a recommendation to stop watching reruns of Battlestar Galactica.
However, Elon Musk isn’t just anyone. He’s not even just any genius. He’s founded SpaceX, OpenAI, Tesla, SolarCity and X.com (which eventually became Paypal). So, when celebrated technologist Musk advises that care should be taken with regards to AI, elaborating that “with artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon,” it’s worthwhile to stop and listen. Musk identifies several concerns about humanity and AI’s interconnected future;
- In the wrong hands, AI could become a tool for governments and individuals (including “evil dictators”) in the pursuit of power and could contribute to bad ends, such as oppression and war.
- If robots become too “human-like” in appearance, they may be used for deception.
- Leading AI companies are overconfident in their ability to “shape and control the digital superintelligences,” and may fail to “prevent bad ones from escaping into the internet.”
So, how does Musk intend to prevent a future where an AI administrator of a company computer network – a Master Control Program (MCP) – plans to pwn the Pentagon and the Kremlin?
Musk’s solution is more Cylon than Tron: the creation of an “AI – human symbiote” using neural lace. The lace would constitute a digital layer that taps into certain neurons, most likely entering through arteries and veins. Once infused with the digital layer, limitations to the thinking part of the human mind (the cerebral cortex) would be lifted; and hybrids would be able to think both in the virtual place within their brain as well as on the cloud, free of bandwidth constraints. Ultimately, in merging humanity with AI, and creating a “neural link between your cortex and your digital extension of yourself,” technology would be democratized.
However, if worse comes to worse, the neural lace may make it easier to file paperless requests with our robot overlords.