Have you ever wondered what would it be like to have access to the human mind? How would you feel if you knew a computer is keeping a check on your thought process? Honestly, I would be quite freaked out.
In 2016, Elon Musk created Neuralink, a neurotechnology firm co-founded by him that would present answers to the above questions that I just asked with a possibility of an evolution of the human mind. I am a bit skeptical about the whole thing though.
So, what exactly is Neuralink aimed at?
The ultimate goal of Neuralink, as Musk describes it, is to develop a brain-machine interface (BMI). This BMI will help connect the human mind to computers and artificial intelligence (AI). To bring this into reality, the tech guru intends to materialize it in the form of a chip that will be inserted inside the human brain. According to Musk, the technology aims to ‘enhance our brains’.
The Neuralink inside the brain
Let us explore all that the BMI is made up of. The system comprises of three main components: sensors; a neurosurgeon robot, well, more like a sewing machine inside the brain and ultra-thin polymer threads to help the sewing machine do its task.
In a webcast, Musk said that in its initial stages the BMI system will help fix any brain damages and transfer sensitive data. However, the creator himself is concerned about the possible existential threats that this technology might bring for the human race.
The implications of the Neuralink
If the Neuralink actually comes to life, with being a potential threat to the environment and the evolution of the human race, here are some other implications that we should be well-prepared for:
1) Computers and other technology will be controlled with our minds but, then, who gets access to such technology and who does not? I feel that such technology should not be made accessible to everyone as it can have severe repercussions and could be misused.
2) If we are able to simply send messages via our mind, what happens if the brain gets hacked? How will the information be saved? This is one question that I have been thinking about the most. It is like someone actually reading my mind. As much as I would love for some to, I would really dread if others read it (IYKWIM).
3) Is it really safe to walk around having a device inside the mind? Yikes, human beings will become a walking, talking computer of sorts.
4) Can the human mind take the load of the overflow of information? What happens to excess information? With the advancement of technology and the limited attention spans that most of us have now, I truly feel the human mind won’t be able to take the load.
5) If everything is controlled by the human mind, what happens to the matters that pertain to the heart? Will the human mind supersede the heart? My mind is already in charge, do not want it to take more responsibility than it ideally should.
6) Watching the film Matrix is one thing but how many of us will actually be comfortable living and experiencing it in real life? To be honest, I would not be. Even though I loved the film.
7) With great power comes great responsibility. How many of us are actually capable of taking up this responsibility without exploiting it and using it for our own good? After all, humans by nature are selfish and opportunists. Power can get to one’s head and in this case, it will already be inside the mind. That is one thought that making me anxious.
No gain means certainly no brain!
Musk himself is yet to come up with answers and measures to avoid all of the above implications that this latest technology will bring along. As ambitious as the Neuralink sounds, it is also quite risky if given access in the wrong hands. Change is the only constant. However, unless there are clear guidelines as to how this technology will be used, the Neuralink should only be regarded as a work in progress due to ethical concerns and implications.
I am still kind of excited for events to unfold in the Neuralink! Ah! What fun living the Matrix life.
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