Written by Apoorv Katiyar

How does the idea sound: of arresting the neurons in your brain with the help of implants inserted in your head, which let you do amazing things? Are you already imagining moving objects with the course of your gaze? Would you like to bet on solving complex calculations in the blink of an eye? Maybe use it to avoid languid conversations with scripted responses?

I know what I would do-bend that silver spoon without any physical contact. No trickery! The idea reminded me of one episode from a television series Black Mirror (Haven’t watched it yet? Go binge watch it right now!) where in a future world people had chips engrafted inside their head, and they replay any moment from their past witnessed through their oculus. The reality of such advanced technologies might not be an unfathomable affair anymore.

Recently, SpaceX and Tesla CEO founder unveiled his newest venture to the world. The brain-computer interface aimed at augmenting human intelligence and prowess, has been named Neuralink. Previously another similar venture “Neural Lace” had also been presented. It is an effort to shorten the ever increasing gap between artificial intelligence and homo sapiens sapiens, and to couple the evolutionary timelines for both of them together. It is anattempt to scale the process of human evolution to the pace at which AI is being propelled forward. It is no wonder that AI has great potential to solve all the human problems and more. But so is the possibility of it creating just as many. And those won’t be petty everyday problems. The question we are dealing with is the existence of our own species in the presence of a technology which would be far superior than us by any measure and in every aspect.

Look around yourself, and then contemplate on this. “Why do humans get to make decisions for what’s best for the planet earth?” We are the most intelligent life form on this planet right now and hence, we hold the key to every door, light to the darkest corners, and power to chose what stays and what departs.With a superior sentient life form, a revolution of highest magnitude is inevitable. A dystopian future, without humans, cannot be dismissed as well. We cannot curtail AI development, for it is the way how the future has to be shaped. So that leaves us with the idea of propagation of pioneering techniques and research directed at improving the human mind alongside AI; of endowing ourselves with comparable or better technology, which when put against the possible threat from apparition of AI in futurity, sure enough cannot be deemed as trash.

But, the moral implication of fiddling with the nature given wiring of our own self is something of concern. A significant part of the population, like it has happened in the past, would question the practice of revolutionary technology. Are we poised to become one of the toys we play with? Are the people going to be comfortable with an implant. I mean, I am still terrified of the tip of the needle. How are we going to deal with the question of self, of individuality, of our humanity. These are some serious question to ponder over.

As of now, any analysis is speculative, but surely a large number of possibilities converge at the question of our existence with the kind technologies we bring forth in the future. Both, the AI and humans, move on separate helix of development and evolution respectively and there would be a need for them to entwine, otherwise one of them might twist and smother the other.

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Apoorv Katiyar

1 Comment

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