Exploring the Future...until we get there

Category: Transhumanism

Elon Musk

It’s an understatement to say that Elon Musk has numerous irons in the fire at any given time. What we want to explore in this post is the one that has resulted from, or is at least based on, Mr. Musk’s provocative statements regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the need for humans to interface and integrate with it at the physiological level. According to Musk, brain implants are thought to be a logical route to achieve such integration, and the way to get there is the iron in the fire called Neuralink.

Musk, along with several other investors, founded the company Neuralink in 2016, with the short-term goals of the organization revolving around the idea of treating diseases of the brain. The longer-term goals involve creating brain implants that will result in a symbiotic relationship between the human brain and AI. If we are to survive in a world where AI has become superior to Homo sapiens in most, if not all, areas of intelligence, Musk insists that we, us obsolescing humans, must begin exploring the idea of brain implants. The very idea is the stuff of dystopian science fiction.

Although there are certainly many aspects of this most serious of pursuits to consider, one quite intriguing component of brain-AI interface is the idea that, as we begin talking about introducing changes to the inherent physiological landscape of the human brain, we are possibly confronted with an event in human evolution from which we cannot return.

What does it mean, after all, in terms of evolution and the future of the human species, to say that we are embarking on the very alteration of the human brain’s fabric for the express purpose of preventing annihilation by AI? We can’t possibly be fully prepared for such pursuits. Although, to be fair, nor are we in any way prepared for the potential of AI to surpass human civilization, or, at the very least, to control every aspect of it.

Musk operates in the world as a bit of a lightning rod when it comes to disruptive technologies, such as electric automobiles (Tesla), rockets (SpaceX), tunnel construction (The Boring Company), and the (so far) ill-fated idea of the hyperloop.

When visionaries are well-stocked with funding dollars, as Musk most certainly is, amazing things can happen. With regard to Neuralink, we’ll have to wait and see. In some ways, however, it’s not so important that the company is successful or not; it’s the idea that the effort is being made in the first place. Surely an inevitable result will be more startups formed with this and other terrifying and tantalizing ideas in mind. Unintended consequences will undoubtedly occur. I, for one, can’t wait.

Transhuman Meets Climate Change

Interesting times we’re living in, right? One camp constantly reminding us that we’re running out of time, that Climate Change is coming for us all, that our rebellious little planet will soon kick us clean off her surface for causing such chaos and upheaval to her delicately balanced systems.

Cut to another camp, equally vehement in its insistence that the technological wonders now upon us will soon revolutionize the human species as we know it. “Don’t worry,” members of this camp scream, all is well, all is fixable, technology can and will conquer all problems, even those presented by Climate Change and its enormous threats to our continued tenancy within Mother Earth’s domain.

Who’s right, who’s wrong? Who’s to say? In the meantime, as a guy who is quite interested in how this is all going to play out, the avenues that we can explore together on this blog are just about endless.

What’s most interesting to consider is how the participants in this breathless race to the finish line are influenced by one another. On the one hand, we have Mr. and Mrs. Tranhuman, participants who fully endorse the idea that the human genome is outdated, that it can and should be altered, transformed, enhanced with something superior to it in every way. Bigger, faster, stronger, smarter. Humans have worn out their welcome. It’s time for an upgrade, and maybe even an outright replacement.

On the other hand, we have Mr. and Mrs. Climate Change, advocates of the idea that the human genome is never going to get the opportunity to be changed to any meaningful degree, much less altered such that it might be made more capable of coping with the existential threats posed by Climate Change.

Is it possible that neither of these participants in the race are going to take the ribbon? Could an unexpected hybrid participant, something not quite human, but neither something that could be described as a superhuman, might cross the finish line first?

If Climate Change truly does have the potential to wipe us out, then the time required by technological advancements to offer us alternatives is severely limited. Some of the biggest brains on the planet warn us that we are quickly running out of time to do anything of substance, something that might wholly avert, or at least avoid a direct punch to the face, delivered by this heavweight contender called Climate Change.

We should think about where we are as a species, as a civilization, where we’re trying to get to, and how much time we realistically have to get there. So much to explore.

Let’s start with an obvious target – Elon Musk. He will be starring in our next post.

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