Elon Musk, Tesla

It is surprising how many things Elon Musk can have running through his head at the same time. He is heavily involved in building futuristic cars, autopilot technologies, solar powered walls, reusable rockets and a civilization on Mars — among other things. One of his latest ideas had to do with a direct interface between the human brain and the computer and he had occasion to reiterate it on Monday.

Speaking at the launch of Tesla in UAE during the World Government Summit in Dubai, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO stressed upon the importance of a brain-computer interface. Stressing that such a system was the need of the hour, Musk said that such a system could:

achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence, and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem.

This is not the first time that the visionary entrepreneur has come out and expressed his thoughts on the topic. While speaking at a conference last year, Musk had talked about a neural lace that could let humans communicate directly with computers at the level of thoughts. Such a system, assuming that we could actually create one, could transcend the limitations imposed by the modes of communication currently available to us and allow us to communicate with computers almost instantaneously.

Computers for example, can communicate with each other very, very fast — even when they are situated at the other corners of the world. Assuming that we could interpose humans in between through something like a neural lace, imagine the possibilities? Direct communication between humans via thoughts? Such a system could also allow us to leverage the awesome computing power of our own minds in unprecedented ways. However, there ate going to be a mountain-load of technical hurdles that would need to be solved.

In case you are interested, you can read more about what Elon Musk thinks about the potential of such a direct cortical interface, right below:

The fundamental limitation is input/output. We’re already a cyborg, I mean you have a digital or partial version of yourself in the form of your emails and your social media and all the things that you do and you have basically superpowers with your computer and your phone and the applications that are there. You have more power than the president of the united states had 20 years ago. you can answer any question, you can videoconference with anyone anywhere, you can send a message to anyone instantly, you can just do incredible things. But the constraint is input/output. We’re I/O bound – particularly output bound. Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs sort of tapping away. This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high-bandwidth visual interface to the brain, our eyes take in a lot of data. So there’s many orders of magnitude difference between input and output. Effectively merging in a symbiotic way with digital intelligence revolves around eliminating the I/O constraint, which would be some sort of direct cortical interface […] a neural lace.

Musk has also hinted that he might be working upon overcoming the technical barriers involved with such an interface. In response to a question last month, Musk said that he may have something substantial to share in February. Let’s see when and what happens. Knowing Elon Musk, I can’t wait to know more.

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