Opinion: The Future of Cyberlinked Human Consciousness Is Now

As we collectively marvel at the growing capabilities of virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa, it may be time to start preparing ourselves for the impending merger of computer networks with human brains. It would also seem prudent to consider the cautionary words of one of the innovators at the fore of the AI-human interface revolution. Ironically, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk, has compared current exploration in the field of AI-human nueral links to "summoning the demon." Musk goes on to clarify this sentiment, saying, "I have exposure to the very cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it. I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”

Elon Musk is also the CEO of Neuralink, the first public (non-military) company intent on pioneering the physical merging of computer hardware and software with the human brain. And while computer-human integrated computer neural networks may sound like a great idea on the surface, consider this: people are already quick to get in an uproar over the fact that Smart TVs can potentially monitor conversations, laptops can be hacked to record video of you, and your iPhone and iPad can be used by any powers that be to serve as the equivalent of a wiretap. Imagine what would happen if our very thoughts were wired into a vast network of computers. Would we have "Thought Police" like we saw in Tom Cruise's film, Minority Reportor perhaps even more intimidating, would we rely on AI computers to monitor and regulate the content on neuralinked human networks?

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I can see tremendous advantages to networks of human brain and computers. On a day-to-day level, what we see is just a product of neurosynaptic information being processed by our brains. Once you connect your mind with a computer, it would seem like there's no limit to the kind of experiences that could be generated neurologically. The wealth of knowledge, information, and even entertainment options that would be at our beck and call with a brain wired to a cloud-based computer network is staggeringn.

And yet, it's not without significant potential drawbacks. And when you have one of the pioneers of technology who is actively exploring the technology of linking computers with the human brain giving such cautionary advice, I would think it should cause use to fully consider the ramifications of this merger.

The concepts and possibilities we are discussing here can't simply be relegated to the realms of science fiction anymore. Musk has speculated that his Neuralink company will have practical applications for brain-to-computer technology within as little as 10 years. In a sense we've been making inroads toward a human neural link with computers for decades now, fueled perhaps by our addiction to smartphones and the instant gratification and access to unlimited information and amusement they provide. Considering how attached people are to having their iPhone at hand, it's not surprising that we would collectively take to the promise of greater connectivity, which will undoubtedly only be enhanced by emerging augmented and virtual reality technologies.

I'm absolutely all for the continued advancements of technology; but when it comes to the actual, physical wiring of a human brain to a computer interface and AI software, I too feel that if we as a species, are going to head down this road, that we would be wise to do so with with eyes wide open to the possible dangers, potential privacy and security issues, and the possible unforseen ramifications of physically merging our minds with an AI computer network.

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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech