In nearly the same breath as he shared updates on his plans to dig tunnels, Elon Musk also noted he’s looking to hopefully share more on his progress with developing a “neural lace” next month. That’s a technical term for direct cortical interface, and it’s something that the SpaceX and Tesla CEO takes very seriously, in case you thought he might just be having a laugh.
Musk discussed the potential of a functional neural lace at Recode’s Code conference last year, speaking earnestly about its benefits in terms of being able to help humans keep pace with advancements in AI that threaten to render us vastly inferior to complex virtual intelligences.
Here’s how Musk described the potential of a neural lace in terms of solving human limitations when it comes to computing, and helping us keep pace with AI’s progress:
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.
He went on to specify that this would potentially require only minimally invasive procedures, since “veins and arteries […] provide a complete roadway to all of your neurons, since they’re high blood flow.”
This isn’t the first time Musk has tweeted about making progress on the neural lace concept; he said in August that he might have something to share on the subject in a few months time, which fits loosely with a potential update on the subject next month, which he suggested this morning.