This coming Friday, 28 August 2020, Elon Musk will unveil the latest on his neural link project to directly connect the human brain to the internet. See the link [here] and if you’re interested in the white paper he previously released detailing the specifics of his technology go [here]
I mentioned previously the challenges for humans in truly comprehending artificial intelligence. Musk warns about the dangers of artificial intelligence. In his interview above he says that adding an AI layer to the human brain may be the best protective strategy available — right now — for human interactions with artificial intelligence.
There’s a new concept in special operations outlined in this article https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/hyper-enabled-operator that focuses on how a special operator can achieve “cognitive dominance” or “cognitive overmatch” through use of artificial intelligence in war-fighting. Musk is taking measurable steps towards achieving a “Hyper-Enabled Human” via his brain-machine interface technology to enable us ordinary humans towards the same end. He’s not the only one, but certainly one of the best funded and with an early lead in animal trials.
It’s interesting to consider the possibilities inherent in a link between the human brain and the internet…and a link to artificial intelligence. In the Netflix series ALTERED CARBON, based on the brilliant science fiction series by Richard Morgan, the question of “what is consciousness?” is the central premise. If your consciousness, all that you are, all that you’ve thought, experienced and learned, can be reduced to a program stored on a chip and then placed into another human body (sleeve, in Morgan’s parlance), at what point does the artificial intelligence stop and human consciousness begin? What if you can add skill sets, experiences, additional personalities as easily as ordering add-ons to an ice cream sundae? What if you have a dedicated personal artificial super-intelligence that monitors your every action down to the neuro-physiological level — and coaches you (or directs you at the pre-conscious level) towards what IT determines is your optimal outcome?
One of the characters in the Netflix adaptation is an artificial intelligence. It runs a hotel that becomes the operating base for the protagonist Takeshi Kovacs to run his operation. Kovacs builds a relationship with that AI, which provides him not only instantaneous access to necessary information, but also a sounding board for evaluating courses of action. What is beautifully woven into the relationship is how the human intuition of the human brain augments, supplement and enhances the artificial intelligence in a mirror image of how the artificial intelligence augments Kovacs’s human brain.
In Morgan’s fiction, the primary weapon of the Envoys, the hyper-enabled special operators like Takeshi Kovacs, is “Envoy Intuition” — an AI enhanced capability to instantaneous calibrate human behavior and thought processes, game potential manipulation strategies, and to evaluate in real time the effect of calculated manipulation on individual humans as well as large groups. It’s the formidable weapon/skill-set that enables a single Envoy to drop onto a planet and overthrow it using only the resources he (or she) can source and purpose from material at hand.
Elon Musk’s neural link, and others in the assembly line, may be the first steps in a direct linkage that can enable human intuition to that level of effectiveness. We certainly work that problem hard in non-linked ways, from improving baseline human cognition under stress to managing data input to the human perceptual processes in a way that enables more efficient use — but not as directly as Musk proposes to demonstrate Friday.
I’ll be watching.