Brain + Computer : Will AI kill or save humankind ?
From the movie The Matrix through the TV series Black Mirror's "Playtest," science fiction stories of connecting the brain to a machine might soon become reality, with the scientist-geek par excellence, Elon Musk's newest venture. Musk's new brain-interface start-up, Neuralink, has recently raised $26.96 million for research on the matter. The goal of this brain-to-machine interface is to help human intelligence to keep up with the fast-growing artificial intelligence (AI). But will it help humanity or kill it ? Is Musk's new project the beginning of humanity's decline ? Will robots take over the world?
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking has reservations about the matter, as he stated in 2014 that AI could end humanity. To prevent a robot-apocalypse, earlier this year, in January 2017, Musk joined Hawking in endorsing a set of 23 principles, known as the Asilomar AI Principles, to ensure that AI machines benefit humans. Divided into 3 categories, Research Issues, Ethics and Values, and Longer-term Issues, these principles help frame AI research to develop superintelligence "in the service of widely shared ethical ideals, and for the benefit of all humanity rather than one state or organization" (Principle #23).
In this context, Neuralink's research could potentially revolutionise the way we communicate and treat health issues. It could help people recover from epilepsy and enable less-invasive surgical implants. Brain-to-brain communication (pseudo-telepathy) could also become reality, while permitting more vivid and precise transmission and reception of ideas.
As long as these guidelines are followed, maybe artificial intelligence won't kill us after all.