Friday August, 28, Elon Musk revealed to a small group of reporters and investors Neuralink, a prototype to connect computers to human brains which had at the moment has been tested on pigs (poor pigs). Musk said in a tweet “The matrix in the matrix.” The ultimate goal for Neuralink, Musk explained at a 2019 launch event, is a “full brain-machine interface” that will achieve a “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”
Neuralink Progress Update, Summer 2020
The Scope Weekly had a chat with Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H. a board certified Beverly Hills psychiatrist, award-winning author and media commentator on newsmakers and society about the implications of having a computer connected to your brain.
The Scope Weekly: Elon Musk says his brain-implant firm Neuralink showed off a “working device”. What are your thoughts on this and what do you think could be some of the short and long term implications if humans are able to successfully link their brains to computers?
Dr. Lieberman: I watched Elon Musk’s ‘big reveal’ – from his explanation to his “Three Little Pigs” demonstration to the Q&A afterwards involving his whole team. The most dramatic part was when a very reluctant Gertrude-the-pig had to be coaxed out of her pen to show off his brain chip. Although Musk has proven himself to be a brilliant and creative man – with Tesla, SpaceX and more to his credit, his brain chip is chilling – and not in a good way. He touts the chip as the cure – or at least boon – for everything from addiction to Alzheimer’s, paraplegia to Parkinson’s, and deafness to depression, skimming over the dangers of brain surgery and hacking.
Do you think that if humans keep incorporating technological additions to their bodies that pretty soon they won’t be “human” anymore and they’ll be hybrid between a biological organism and machine?
Musk brags that his brain chip is a seamless symbiosis between humans and machines, putting aside the thought that most of us want to hold onto our humanity. (Indeed, at the rate the world is going, humans are losing their humanity all too quickly as it is.)But, Elon believes that his chip is the only answer to avoid being taken over by Artificial Intelligence in the next five years.
Do human beings have a natural or instinctual expectation about living for about 80-100 years? If so, what do you think would be some of the mental heath challenges if someone’s life could be extended by an additional 100-300 years?
Currently, we tend to think of ourselves as living for at least 80 years, and hoping for 100 because we see our parents and grandparents reaching that age. If a breakthrough suddenly allowed us to live an additional 100-300 years, mental health challenges would include accepting how our bodies look or extending our gym memberships and going in for lots of plastic surgery, learning how not to procrastinate just because we have so much more time, and how to stop carrying the baggage of bad memories.
Some people look at Elon Musk as a genius and others look at him as insane. What do you think is the fine line between genius and insanity?
Elon Musk is a ‘mad genius’. In my opinion, he has bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness. He essentially acknowledged as much in a tweet, in which he wrote about his “great highs and terrible lows,” and in an interview, though he backpedaled a bit after letting the cat out of the bag. Fortunately, he does not have a severe case, and his manic phases are what allow him to dream up inventions that no one else has accomplished.
The Scope Weekly thanks Dr. Lieberman for her insight. We cannot help but wonder how dangerous and misused a computer interface connected to the brain could be. Outside of its health and medical applications, it also could be used by armies to create super soldiers. Who will control them. How are mere humans to survive in such a world? When is progress no longer progress?
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