Neurolink | BioMed Mondays 03

There seems to be a paranoia with about artificial intelligence (AI) replacing human beings.  The fear illustrates a world where the rich get richer, while everyone else gets poorer.  Watching movies like The Terminator and The Matrix definitely do not help.  So what do we do as humans do to stop this?  How do we control AI and limit economic inequality?  

Elon Musk suggests that we should compete with AI.  Neuralink, Elon Musk’s new startup aims to do just that.  But first, we need to implant a BCI (brain-computer interface) into the human brain.  Brain-computer interfaces are neurotechnologies that allow artificial and natural brains to communicate with machines.  By implanting a BCI into the human brain,  human beings can skip many inefficiencies, such as having a third person translate languages in order for two people to understand and communicate with each other.  

However this solution poses many challenges.  Will the technology be safe? Placing foreign objects inside a human body poses many risks.  The body can reject the object or substance, as is the case in blood transfusion, assuming the proper blood type is not given to the patient.  In addition to bodily rejection, infections and disease can be caused by placing foreign objects in a person’s body.  Pink eye and fungal keratitis are examples of possible infections if the fluid is not used.  

The technology’s application to the general public may cause big social and economic problems.  What happens if this technology is too expensive for the average person?   If this technology is too expensive for average people, the rich will get richer and richer, leaving everyone else in the dust.  Is it ethical to enhance normal human capabilities?  We have all seen people who are at a huge disadvantage to others due to physical and/or mental disabilities.   These disadvantages have caused many social problems like homelessness.  By enhancing normal human capabilities, we may cause certain people to benefit exponentially at the expense of others.  

As of today, Neuralink’s short term goal is to advance the field of medicine in neural conditions.  Possible treatments and cures using BCI technology to disease such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy are being researched.  The Terminator-like dark, unpredictable reality is a long way from now.  Technology is not advanced enough to allow for safe neural implants that grow with a human being.  According to Musk, the technology will be safe for commercial use within eight to ten years.  In the meantime, prepare yourself for an artificially intelligent future.    

Author: Hamza Waheed