Eccentric billionaire Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal and is the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, has asserted that humans are already cyborgs with impressive powers — but if we don’t upgrade we will be at risk of becoming “pets” of artificial intelligence.
Speaking at the Code Conference 2016 earlier this week, Musk asserted that technological advances have given humans the ability to do things that only existed in dreams just decades ago, while making the case that in a way — humans are already cyborgs.
“You have a digital version of yourself, a partial version of yourself online in the form of your emails, your social media, and all the things that you do,” Musk explained. “You have more power than the president of the United States had 20 years ago. You can answer any question, you can video conference with anyone, anywhere. You can send messages to millions of people instantly. Just do incredible things.”
Those things may not be good enough, however, as Musk believes that we will need a “neural lace” to act as an interface between humans and artificial intelligence to avoid becoming their pets.
“If you assume any rate of advancement in AI, we’ll be left behind,” he stated. “We would be so far below them in intelligence that we would be like a pet. Like a house cat.”
The tech leader also suggested that we may already be living in a video game, of sorts, created by an advanced civilization.
“The strongest argument for us being in a simulation, probably being in a simulation,” he began. “Forty years ago we had pong, like two rectangles and a dot, that was what games were. Now 40 years later we have photo realistic 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and its getting better every year. Soon we will have virtual reality and augmented reality.”
“If you assume any rate of improvement, at all, the games will become indistinguishable from reality — even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is right now.”
Musk is so concerned about the rise of artificial intelligence, that he has co-founded a billion dollar project to save humanity.
The project is a non-profit effort and their main objective is not to generate income, but to prevent killer robots from taking over.
“OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. Our goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return,” the OpenAI website explains.
“Since our research is free from financial obligations, we can better focus on a positive human impact. We believe AI should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as is possible safely.”
Others involved in the project include Musk’s PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, tech giant Infosys, and cloud-based computing platform Amazon Web Services.
“If I were to guess what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence,” Musk said at a symposium held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon.”