RANCHOS PALOS VERDES, California — Are you ready to interface with your digital self at neural level? Elon Musk wants you to. In fact, he thinks it's the only way we can prevent becoming our artificial intelligence overlords' house cats.
Musk laid our this wild, new digital vision during a late evening chat at the annual Code Conference.
Earlier in the talk Musk made it quite clear that he believes " not all AI futures are benign." He's especially concerned that AI could take "a direction that would be not good for the future."
Musk launched OpenAI to prevent such a future, but it does not appear that he has all that much faith in the plan, since he's already thinking of at least one way that humans can stay ahead of artificial intelligence that he believes will leave us so far behind as to "be like a pet or like the house cat" for the AI.
The way around this, Musk explained, is something called a Neural Lace. It's essentially an artificial intelligence layer for humans.
Image: lance ulanoff/mashable
"You have the limbic system, the cortex and a digital layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you," he said.
The idea is to solve what Musk sees as humans' fundamental input/output limitations. He said our hand input, say thumbs on a virtual iPhone keyboard, is incredibly slow. On the input side, we're a lot better because we have a high-bandwidth visual interface.
A digital layer, though, would "effectively merge in a symbiotic way with a digital intelligence," said Musk.
The how of getting this digital layer into humans is also interesting — and a little terrifying. Musk said it would not take surgery. Instead, the digital layer could enter through the arteries and veins, which is roadway to the neurons Musk wants to tap into. That might, though, involve entry through the jugular vein.
It's just an idea for now and not one that anyone, even Musk, is pursuing. But he believes someone should and "If somebody doesn’t do it than I think I should do it," said Musk, thereby potentially adding another major project to his already full plate.