The inventor Elon Musk recently told Axios that humans have to merge with machines in order to overcome the “existential threat” posed by artificial intelligence (AI).
Mr Musk, who is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said AI is “just digital intelligence” and by its very nature, it is bound to exceed “biological intelligence… as the algorithms and the hardware improve”.
What Mr Musk was really saying was clear: Merge with the machine or go the way of monkeys, relegated to a limited patch by the dominant species of primate, homo sapiens. He said man’s dominance has meant “there are very few mountain gorillas and orangutans and chimpanzees — monkeys in general. They occupy small corners of the world — cages. … Zoos. Even the jungles that they’re in are narrowly defined so they were sort of like big cages … So, you know, that’s one possible outcome for us.”
Or else one could build a Man Machine, a union of the human body with the digital brain.
To this end, Mr Musk’s neuroscience company, Neuralink, is labouring to build a hard drive for the human brain. That would mean engineering an “electrode-to-neuron interface at a micro level…a chip and a bunch of tiny wires” that will be “implanted in your skull.” Mr Musk expects that the electrode-to-neuron interface to be ready in about 10 years. So, by 2028, the Man Machine – a human with a wired brain – could be part of a new race. That would be 50 years after the German band Kraftwerk put out an album titled ‘The Man Machine’.