We’ve been plugging our heads into the Internet for 20 years, and so far the results have been mixed.
Unfettered information has not proven to be a path to greater truth. Conspiracists of all stripes are doing big business, Donald Trump is a serious contender for the Presidency and Americans think the country is a dangerous place when it’s never been safer. Something has been lost in translation.
Is the answer to go deeper into the cloud? In order to keep AI from obviating our species, Elon Musk wants us to connect our brains to a “benevolent AI.” The question is, would greater clarity attend greater intelligence? “Yes” doesn’t seem to be the definite answer.
Elon Musk says the key to preventing an artificial intelligence-induced apocalypse is to create an “A.I.-human symbiote.” It’s the fated neural lace, part of the “democratization of A.I. technology,” that connects our brains to the cloud. And when enough brains are connected to the cloud — when “we are the A.I. collectively” — the “evil dictator A.I.” will be powerless against us all, Musk told Y Combinator recently.
Yes, you read that right. Musk yearns for and believes in the singularity — the moment A.I. evolves beyond human control — so long as it comes out better for the humans than it does for the machines. Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is no stranger to out-there ideas: Among his many are that electric, autonomous cars are the future of transportation, that we can colonize Mars, that life is in all likelihood a grand simulation, and that Sundays are best spent baking cookies. (Okay, okay: He’s onto something with that last one.)
Along with running the show at SpaceX and Tesla, Musk co-chairs OpenAI, a nonprofit dedicated to precluding malicious A.I. and producing benevolent A.I. But that’s just one part of the equation; the other part, as he told Y Combinator CEO and fellow OpenAI chair Sam Altman on Thursday, is to incorporate this benevolent A.I. into the human brain. Once that works, he wants to incorporate it into all human brains — or at least those who wish to augment their au naturel minds.•