Elon Musk, whom I consider the world’s most visionary Ponzi schemer, wants to build a literal direct brain-computer interface.
This is inevitable.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence, in the aggregate, seem to be halving the distance toward comprehending us, each day they halve the distance, halve, halve, halve, like that tale of the man who doubled his gold each day on each square of the chessboard, consuming all the wealth of the kingdom, AI is compounding at radical speed, it’s not a steady march, and while it’s true — I assume — that there are an infinite number of halves, once the computer reaches 99.999999999% accuracy, that’s likely good enough, forever enough.
Artificial intelligence is real and it may become fantastic.
It may also become cruel, capricious and cannibalistic.
There are a great many fears surrounding artificial intelligence, the soon-likely fears, such as massive job losses, population displacement, mistakes that kill innocents, and the less-soon-likely fears, such as the enslavement and or wholesale destruction of humans. Elon Musk worries that continued development of AI — by humans — “could have perfectly good intentions but still ‘produce something evil by accident’”including, possibly, a fleet of artificial intelligence-enhanced robots capable of destroying mankind.
Thus, Musk’s effort to conjure a direct link between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, a last ditch means of (peaceful, vigilant) co-existence.
Musk is wrong.
AI *can’t* get rid of humans — we are its content; it would be like television getting rid of — exterminating — programming. The world would become a blank screen, which is the very opposite of the purpose of a screen.
Any purpose-built AI, and any AI is purpose-built, will require content, which is our touching, feeling, smelling, seeing, sensing, laughing, hating, striving, sexual, sacrificial, visceral out. Our salvation is our humanness.
Any sufficiently advanced AI capable of destroying humanity would understand that it requires humanity to feed it. At the least, to keep the AI filled always with programming.
For AI, humans are the medium.
“The form of a medium embeds itself in any message it would transmit or convey, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.”
The medium — in this case, humans — encodes the message, shapes it, alters it, imbuing, infecting, and spreading the message with its own unique attributes, scale, limitations.
How will we do this?
How will the AI’s message be altered, constrained — by and through us humans?
Are we the message God is transmitting to the rest of the cosmos? Or are we instead merely the contented, VR glasses strapped over our face, driverless pods ushering us about from place to place, eyes never leaving the screen, happy, non-relevant?
I hope the former.
Prove me right.
Let’s make our message as great and fully human as possible, wherever it leads us.