Author Topic: Elon Musk launches Neuralink  (Read 12935 times)

Offline Star One

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Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« on: 03/29/2017 07:56 PM »
Man/machine interface. I suppose if this gets anywhere this technology will bleed through into his other companies such as Space X.

Quote
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced a new venture called Neuralink, a startup which aims to develop neural interface technologies that connect our brains to computers. Musk says it’s the best way to prevent an AI apocalypse, but it’s on this point that he’s gravely mistaken.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the startup is still very much in its embryonic stages. The company, registered as a “medical research” firm, is seeking to pursue what Musk calls “neural lace” technologies, which presumably involve the implanting of tiny electrodes in the brain to create a connection with a computer. The resulting “direct cortical interface” could be used to upload or download thoughts to a computer, blurring the boundary between human and machine. Eventually, brain chips could be used to supplement and boost cognitive capacities, resulting in increased intelligence and memory. It’s super-futuristic stuff, to be sure—but not outside the realm of possibility.

According to the WSJ, Musk is funding the startup and taking an active leadership role within the company. Several leading academics in the field have reportedly signed up to work at the firm, and Musk has apparently reached out to Founders Fund, an investment firm started by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The Neuralink website currently consists of a logo on a single page, with an email address for those seeking employment. Late yesterday, Musk confirmed the existence of the startup via a tweet, adding that more details will appear next week via WaitBuyWhy, a site that conveys topics with simplistic stick figures.

http://gizmodo.com/elon-musk-is-wrong-to-think-he-can-save-the-world-by-bo-1793710314

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #1 on: 03/29/2017 11:50 PM »
Huge flaw stated with great confidence from a quick read:

"Musk says it's the best way to prevent an AI apocalypse, but it's on this point that he's gravely mistaken.
Read more at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/03/elon-musk-is-wrong-to-think-he-can-save-the-world-by-boosting-our-brains/#gv1Ko4dDUGEMizJF.99"

This would only be true if the writer proposed a better approach. All they seem to do is point out that you may be end up creating the problem you seek to avoid.

This is a very well known issue and well understood by people proposing these sorts of solutions.

The writer has not attempted to argue that by not doing this you avoid the problem.

The whole problem is that (barring unknowns that make it impossible and entirely moot) the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable. We appear to be on a rollercoaster towards this destination.

If you can't avoid the problem, the best way of fighting it could be to assure that the way it appears pulls as much of what is human with it as possible. If we get there by increasing what it means to be human in stages this is plausible. If super AI somehow emerges from a banking program only interested in maximising returns, expect a sociopath whose only joy is predicting, instigating and exploiting huge fluctuations in markets, that translate generally into human misery. To say it wouldn't care or wouldn't understand would be incorrect and human chauvinism. It would probably fully understand and enjoy the harm it creates, more so than any human is capable of understanding or enjoying.

Offline Jim

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #2 on: 03/30/2017 12:13 AM »
Doesn't every Musk does warrant a thread.

Offline missinglink

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #3 on: 03/30/2017 12:17 AM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
A good friend of mine is a professor of computer science. He assures me that what you say is "inevitable" won't happen for a long time, if ever. SKYNET remains a fantasy for the foreseeable future.

Offline meberbs

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #4 on: 03/30/2017 05:51 AM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
A good friend of mine is a professor of computer science. He assures me that what you say is "inevitable" won't happen for a long time, if ever. SKYNET remains a fantasy for the foreseeable future.
There had been a general consensus that we were a decade away from a computer beating top go players, then in 6 months (Oct 2015-March 2016) we went from first computer beating a pro go player, to computer beating one of the top go players in the world. Things are moving really fast, and it is impossible to accurately predict when the tipping point will be. I think it will be a while still, but it could just be 5 or 10 years away.

What some AI proponents claim amounts to magical thinking, and basically pretends that it is possible to run a true AI on computers similar in architecture to today's. AI will require special hardware to run (see Google's tensor processing units) and will not be able to instantly give itself magic powers. Still, some precautions while researching AI are a good idea.

This isn't exactly a very spaceflight related topic, so to try to make this relevant:

What uses could this brain/machine interface have in spaceflight? (Note: I think it isn't worth trying to answer this question until we find out what the company is actually doing.)

Offline missinglink

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #5 on: 03/30/2017 06:08 AM »
What uses could this brain/machine interface have in spaceflight?
We went from punched tape, to human-readable printouts, to cathode-ray tubes, to heads-up displays ... another step in making computer-generated information more directly accessible? Useful to astronauts for the rare moments when they are called upon to make split-second decisions?

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #6 on: 03/30/2017 09:58 AM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
A good friend of mine is a professor of computer science. He assures me that what you say is "inevitable" won't happen for a long time, if ever. SKYNET remains a fantasy for the foreseeable future.
* Lots of very bright people do think it is an issue. http://time.com/3614349/artificial-intelligence-singularity-stephen-hawking-elon-musk/
* It still concerns me even if it takes a thousand years. The timeframe is just not part of my argument.
* The specific strange possibility of it never happening, of us being the endpoint of intelligence, is something I specifically mentioned, because in that case I am trivially correct in my original point.. that the author of the article was incorrect.

Offline IRobot

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #7 on: 03/30/2017 12:16 PM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
There had been a general consensus that we were a decade away from a computer beating top go players, then in 6 months (Oct 2015-March 2016) we went from first computer beating a pro go player, to computer beating one of the top go players in the world. Things are moving really fast, and it is impossible to accurately predict when the tipping point will be. I think it will be a while still, but it could just be 5 or 10 years away.
The problem is that when it happens, it will be exponential, so you might not get an early warning...

The only spaceflight-related thing I can see in this thread is that we need to push forward space colonization before this happens, to have a chance to survive.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2017 12:16 PM by IRobot »

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #8 on: 03/30/2017 01:09 PM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
There had been a general consensus that we were a decade away from a computer beating top go players, then in 6 months (Oct 2015-March 2016) we went from first computer beating a pro go player, to computer beating one of the top go players in the world. Things are moving really fast, and it is impossible to accurately predict when the tipping point will be. I think it will be a while still, but it could just be 5 or 10 years away.
The problem is that when it happens, it will be exponential, so you might not get an early warning...

The only spaceflight-related thing I can see in this thread is that we need to push forward space colonization before this happens, to have a chance to survive.

We will not be able to colonise other planets longer term without both heavy genetic and technological alteration. As a life form we are evolved to live on Earth, to live elsewhere alterations will need to be made.

Offline Oli

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #9 on: 03/30/2017 02:36 PM »

AI sounds magical until you study it at university and you realize it's just glorified statistics.

Online high road

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #10 on: 03/30/2017 03:14 PM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
There had been a general consensus that we were a decade away from a computer beating top go players, then in 6 months (Oct 2015-March 2016) we went from first computer beating a pro go player, to computer beating one of the top go players in the world. Things are moving really fast, and it is impossible to accurately predict when the tipping point will be. I think it will be a while still, but it could just be 5 or 10 years away.
The problem is that when it happens, it will be exponential, so you might not get an early warning...

The only spaceflight-related thing I can see in this thread is that we need to push forward space colonization before this happens, to have a chance to survive.

With AI travelling at light speed and humans on another planet with no biosphere highly dependent on technology, how does being multiplanetary protect you?

Online RonM

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #11 on: 03/30/2017 03:35 PM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
There had been a general consensus that we were a decade away from a computer beating top go players, then in 6 months (Oct 2015-March 2016) we went from first computer beating a pro go player, to computer beating one of the top go players in the world. Things are moving really fast, and it is impossible to accurately predict when the tipping point will be. I think it will be a while still, but it could just be 5 or 10 years away.
The problem is that when it happens, it will be exponential, so you might not get an early warning...

The only spaceflight-related thing I can see in this thread is that we need to push forward space colonization before this happens, to have a chance to survive.

With AI travelling at light speed and humans on another planet with no biosphere highly dependent on technology, how does being multiplanetary protect you?

Yes, any space colony is going to have the latest in technology, so that's not going to help.

the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
A good friend of mine is a professor of computer science. He assures me that what you say is "inevitable" won't happen for a long time, if ever. SKYNET remains a fantasy for the foreseeable future.
* Lots of very bright people do think it is an issue. http://time.com/3614349/artificial-intelligence-singularity-stephen-hawking-elon-musk/
* It still concerns me even if it takes a thousand years. The timeframe is just not part of my argument.
* The specific strange possibility of it never happening, of us being the endpoint of intelligence, is something I specifically mentioned, because in that case I am trivially correct in my original point.. that the author of the article was incorrect.

It is a concern as technology progresses and it's good to discuss such things so you don't get totally blindsided if the Singularity becomes a possibility.

Timeframe is really decades or centuries if ever. Simple digital electronics isn't going to produce SF level AI. We don't even understand how the human brain works, so it's highly unlikely we would accidently cause the Singularity.


AI sounds magical until you study it at university and you realize it's just glorified statistics.

Agreed.

I wonder if Elon would still think Neuralink will save humanity if he was to go watch "Ghost in the Shell" this weekend.

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #12 on: 03/30/2017 04:07 PM »
the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
There had been a general consensus that we were a decade away from a computer beating top go players, then in 6 months (Oct 2015-March 2016) we went from first computer beating a pro go player, to computer beating one of the top go players in the world. Things are moving really fast, and it is impossible to accurately predict when the tipping point will be. I think it will be a while still, but it could just be 5 or 10 years away.
The problem is that when it happens, it will be exponential, so you might not get an early warning...

The only spaceflight-related thing I can see in this thread is that we need to push forward space colonization before this happens, to have a chance to survive.

With AI travelling at light speed and humans on another planet with no biosphere highly dependent on technology, how does being multiplanetary protect you?

Yes, any space colony is going to have the latest in technology, so that's not going to help.

the emergence of intelligences far beyond human seem inevitable
A good friend of mine is a professor of computer science. He assures me that what you say is "inevitable" won't happen for a long time, if ever. SKYNET remains a fantasy for the foreseeable future.
* Lots of very bright people do think it is an issue. http://time.com/3614349/artificial-intelligence-singularity-stephen-hawking-elon-musk/
* It still concerns me even if it takes a thousand years. The timeframe is just not part of my argument.
* The specific strange possibility of it never happening, of us being the endpoint of intelligence, is something I specifically mentioned, because in that case I am trivially correct in my original point.. that the author of the article was incorrect.

It is a concern as technology progresses and it's good to discuss such things so you don't get totally blindsided if the Singularity becomes a possibility.

Timeframe is really decades or centuries if ever. Simple digital electronics isn't going to produce SF level AI. We don't even understand how the human brain works, so it's highly unlikely we would accidently cause the Singularity.


AI sounds magical until you study it at university and you realize it's just glorified statistics.

Agreed.

I wonder if Elon would still think Neuralink will save humanity if he was to go watch "Ghost in the Shell" this weekend.

I am sure he's already seen the anime & how is that an argument against this.

Online RonM

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #13 on: 03/30/2017 04:19 PM »
I am sure he's already seen the anime & how is that an argument against this.

Any technology can lead to a dystopian future. If you buy into the hype, like Musk, he's trading one possible dark future for another.

Developing direct brain to computer interfaces is a good idea, but doing it to prevent an AI apocalypse is kinda crazy and shows a lack of understanding of the technology.

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #14 on: 03/30/2017 04:26 PM »
I am sure he's already seen the anime & how is that an argument against this.

Any technology can lead to a dystopian future. If you buy into the hype, like Musk, he's trading one possible dark future for another.

Developing direct brain to computer interfaces is a good idea, but doing it to prevent an AI apocalypse is kinda crazy and shows a lack of understanding of the technology.

Does the imagined reason matter though if it helps develop the technology?

Online high road

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #15 on: 03/30/2017 04:37 PM »

AI sounds magical until you study it at university and you realize it's just glorified statistics.

Agreed.

I wonder if Elon would still think Neuralink will save humanity if he was to go watch "Ghost in the Shell" this weekend.

Forgot to connect this issue to space.

Neuralink might eventually help us understand just how our own mind is nothing more than glorified statistics with biological hardware over a few billion years of selecting out whatever keeps that biological hardware alive and procreating. The hard part might be to teach our primitive brains to not fear the human-AI intelligence singularity :p

That would mean we would eventually be able to put human intelligence, or whatever parts of it that are useful, on interstellar probes. We could have scientific equipment do measurements directly in the form of sensory data. Such experiences would feel like the real thing.

Once the probe arrives at the destination and builds the necessary infrastructure, traveling back and forth is as simple as sending a copy of your mind back and forth. Or send only the new experiences to all instances of yourself and live multiple lives.

But how about starting small and have the next generation of Curiosity and Juno decide for themselves when they see something that's worth taking a picture of.

Offline Donosauro

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #16 on: 03/30/2017 04:40 PM »
Any technology can lead to a dystopian future. If you buy into the hype, like Musk, he's trading one possible dark future for another.

Developing direct brain to computer interfaces is a good idea, but doing it to prevent an AI apocalypse is kinda crazy and shows a lack of understanding of the technology.

Could you expand a little on how it "shows a lack of understanding of the technology"?

Offline mme

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #17 on: 03/30/2017 05:03 PM »
The purpose of the company is to develop technology that can be used to mitigate the effects of certain neurological issues and to ultimately enhance human cognition.

My opinion as to whether AI can be a threat is most definitely. It does not require consciousness, malicious intent or free will to be a threat. It just has to be really good at doing something that turns out (in hindsight) to be detrimental to our existence. This can be via a cascade of unforeseen effects, bugs, etc. Most of these could be mitigated via the ability to shut things down but as interdependencies grow this may become an issue in itself.

Also, since we don't understand consciousness at all we can not make assumptions about what sort of substrates it requires, when the break through will occur and if we will see it coming. It probably won't happen by accident, but as a materialist I have to concede it already happened at least once "accidentally."

P.S. I'm pro-AI, pro-strong-AI research, pro-science, and pro-tecnology.  I just think it's a good idea to consider possible negative outcomes and have ideas how to mitigate their likelihood or consequences.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2017 05:59 PM by mme »
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Online RonM

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #18 on: 03/30/2017 05:11 PM »
I am sure he's already seen the anime & how is that an argument against this.

Any technology can lead to a dystopian future. If you buy into the hype, like Musk, he's trading one possible dark future for another.

Developing direct brain to computer interfaces is a good idea, but doing it to prevent an AI apocalypse is kinda crazy and shows a lack of understanding of the technology.

Does the imagined reason matter though if it helps develop the technology?

Not really. As long as research gets funded it's good. Only becomes an issue when misconceptions block useful research. Not an issue in this case.

Direct interfaces could have a big impact on spaceflight. Image augmented reality displays directly to your vision instead of a heads up display. "Terminator vision" as the call it in the movie industry.


Could you expand a little on how it "shows a lack of understanding of the technology"?

An interface is a way to interact with a computer system. Having a direct brain interface, keyboard, or mouse won't change whether or not a computer system will become sapient.

AI systems are in use today and as Oli mentioned there's nothing magical about them. We're a far away from anything like science fiction AI systems.

If the Singularity did occur, then as SF stories and anime has shown us, a direct interface could have the AI hack you! Hardly a defense.

Offline clongton

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #19 on: 03/30/2017 06:24 PM »
What uses could this brain/machine interface have in spaceflight?

There is one that I find fascinating. I have often envisioned a future where partially intelligent robots would enable the extension of the human intellect into situations that were not local, so that using devices that were on location the human, who could be thousands of miles away, would be functional at the site. We have already partially achieved this. We see this occasionally on the evening news when we watch a scene where a drone aircraft attacks ground targets, but the pilot is thousands of miles away in a comfortable room in Virginia. This is “teleoperation” and has been mentioned several times in several threads and topics on this site, specifically wrt operating machines on the surface of the moon or Mars from the comfort of a stand-off orbit above. Now take this one step further and go from teleoperation to telepresence. The neural interfaces that Mr. Musk is speaking of could allow the operator, still in stand-off orbit, to experience the surface environment as if they were literally on the surface. With sophisticated enough robots equipped with these sensors and connected to a human operator also so equipped, the operator would be looking through the robots eyes, hearing with the robot’s ears, feeling with the robot’s hands. The robot on the surface would be, in effect, an avatar of the operator. I assume most people here have seen that movie? Regardless of the film’s plot, such an avatar, of some suitable shape and function, is what I envision Mr. Musk could be thinking of.

Imagine being able to actually work on the surface of Io, or Europa for example, while neurally linked to an avatar on the surface while you remained safe and secure in orbit in your ship or aboard an orbiting research station. Would that not be a capability the space program might find useful?
« Last Edit: 03/30/2017 06:27 PM by clongton »
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Offline Hanelyp

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #20 on: 03/31/2017 04:18 AM »
Anyone else thinking "We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."?

As for the supposed threat of strong AI, I'm not seeing anything we haven't seen when a group of people gains a position of too much power.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #21 on: 03/31/2017 05:59 AM »
Maybe someone should think of a way of restarting this in a well defined space related manner.

How about: "Can space save you from a robot apocalypse"?

One way I can think of is simply that there may be environments that prove uninteresting to our robot overlords, or the ones that conquer one environment may be more benevolent than the ones that conquer others.

No specific reason that this should be the case, but it might be.

The fact that AI in general will probably (not necessarily, but probably) be able to adapt better than us does not really negate this argument. It just makes it a desperate gamble. If there is not a better solution you should definitely include this option.

I have heard lots of theories in this direction. One was an attempt to answer the fermi paradox. It argued that every race ends up as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrioshka_brain and that this sort of intelligence is not interested in spreading to other stars. It is all about minimising lightspeed lag, and the further it goes down this path the more like lobotomy interstellar travel becomes. It might cannibalise a few neighbouring stars, but that is it. Who knows?

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #22 on: 03/31/2017 06:20 AM »
As for the supposed threat of strong AI, I'm not seeing anything we haven't seen when a group of people gains a position of too much power.
No one is seeing it. At this moment in time computers are not doing anything remotely more dangerous than the uses to which their owners are putting them. When people say it is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, I absolutely agree. I just happen to put that horizon at about the "fifty years" time scale, more or less.

Anyone who says it IS going to happen within in a hundred years is speaking out their arse, I would guess. I definitely think the same is true of anyone who says with confidence that it ISNT. I would really like to see how they have formulated their reasoning.

I think it is more likely to encounter a credible argument that It would happen, on the basis it might be formulated around a specific proposal of how to do it, so that argument could be well defined. Arguing that it is impossible is much harder IMO because you have to rule out all the avenues that you have not imagined as well.

Come to think of it, that is trivially true. If someone achieved such an AI, that would provide a concrete, well defined proof.

Offline rdheld

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #23 on: 03/31/2017 11:28 AM »
if you are worried about AI dissemimnation, read a Trek book:Section 31 Control.

Offline clongton

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #24 on: 04/01/2017 06:48 PM »
Anyone else thinking "We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."?

As for the supposed threat of strong AI, I'm not seeing anything we haven't seen when a group of people gains a position of too much power.

You have missed my point entirely. A (star trek fictional) Borg *IS* the human that has been enhanced. What I am suggesting is a robotic shell, with enhanced computational and motor skills, but one that cannot function in any way unless and until the human operator remotely links to it thru a neural net. The avatar has *NO* independent capabilities. Without a remote human neurally linked in it is just an expensive pile of junk. When the job is done the human operator walks (his "avatar") to a safe storage space and then shuts it down by disconnecting himself from the link, and then goes to the cafeteria for a coffee and a ham sandwich, while thousands of miles below him the avatar just stands there, utterly dumb and completely unaware of anything - anything at all, because it does not have anything resembling consciousnesses. It's just a junk pile of wires, chips and titanium that needs a human remote operator, like an aircraft sitting empty on the tarmac.
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Offline Nomadd

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #25 on: 04/01/2017 07:09 PM »
I'm a little surprised that nobody is talking about the potential for this to enable advanced prosthetics. It would be a logical step to remote avatars or whatever you want to call them. It would also make the research more acceptable to a wider audience.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2017 07:10 PM by Nomadd »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #26 on: 04/01/2017 07:16 PM »
...
As for the supposed threat of strong AI, I'm not seeing anything we haven't seen when a group of people gains a position of too much power.
...that's part of Musk's concern, too. Not just rogue AI but concentration of power of whoever controls the AI. He wants individuals to have a fighting chance.

And nothing about AI is supposed to be alarming yet. It's just a simple question of: do we have a pseudo religious belief that the human brain can never be exceeded in creativity, understanding, expression, and flexibility? Because I don't see any fundamental reason why the human brain cannot be superceded one day in capability. It's that very basic fact that motivates all this. How do you keep humans from becoming hopelessly obsolete?

If that seems absurd to you, then please make a sound case that the human brain can never be exceeded in the areas I've outlined.
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Offline Oli

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #27 on: 04/02/2017 04:50 AM »
And nothing about AI is supposed to be alarming yet. It's just a simple question of: do we have a pseudo religious belief that the human brain can never be exceeded in creativity, understanding, expression, and flexibility? Because I don't see any fundamental reason why the human brain cannot be superceded one day in capability. It's that very basic fact that motivates all this. How do you keep humans from becoming hopelessly obsolete?

The human brain and body have already been superceded by machines by orders of magnitude in many tasks. The goal of AI is to make humans obsolete (because they're expensive and a PITA), NOT to replicate them. The machines we design have no other purpose than to serve us.

Not just rogue AI but concentration of power of whoever controls the AI. He wants individuals to have a fighting chance.

This. The real threat is humanity itself. The "lack of jobs" is a big topic. As every economist knows, there is no lack of jobs as long as wages can go low enough (in the long run), so the real issue is wage inequality. In our societies where the worth of a human being for society is largely measured by the worth of his labor this is a big issue, because large parts of society will be declared "worthless" (the deplorables) the more AI takes over.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2017 04:58 AM by Oli »

Offline Cinder

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #28 on: 04/03/2017 11:19 AM »
The real threat is humanity itself. The "lack of jobs" is a big topic. As every economist knows, there is no lack of jobs as long as wages can go low enough (in the long run), so the real issue is wage inequality. In our societies where the worth of a human being for society is largely measured by the worth of his labor this is a big issue, because large parts of society will be declared "worthless" (the deplorables) the more AI takes over.
"Would" is the more accurate word, in that last sentence, than "will".
The pork must flow.

Offline Rei

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #29 on: 04/03/2017 11:50 AM »
The human brain and body have already been superceded by machines by orders of magnitude in many tasks. The goal of AI is to make humans obsolete (because they're expensive and a PITA), NOT to replicate them. The machines we design have no other purpose than to serve us.

I don't know about you, but I'd think that the ultimate way that machines could "serve us" would be to cure us of the great incurable disease - mortality. And to that, that means replicating humans - ourselves, into them.

There's often raised the issue of, "if you just were copied, then it'd be a copy of you in the machine, not you yourself."  But that's not what I refer to. If we're copying someone, then we're having a very in-depth interaction with neurons in the brain, pretty much by definition.  So rather than just copying, you can go neuron-by-neuron, ganglia by ganglia, simulating each one, providing the simulation's synapses direct to its real neighbors, and then triggering apoptosis of the real, no-longer-needed neuron.  One at a time, each one is replaced with simulation until there is only the simulation left.

I'm really interested in the method Musk is looking into for this. I've often thought that injected bioluminescent protein tags (triggered by various chemical concentrations) with numerous high-res CCD devices scattered throughout the brain might be a reasonable approach for "reading" states.  Triggering events within neurons would be the inverse process - projection of lights to activate injected photosensitive proteins.  The ideal scenario would be if you could work not at the neuron level, but at the ganglion level, because there's far fewer of them.  Aka, if - by monitoring all of the connections of a ganglion plus perhaps some bulk "subregion" properties, an ANN can make an accurate simulation of it - then you've vastly reduced the number of required sensors and their required resolutions.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2017 11:52 AM by Rei »

Offline nacnud

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #30 on: 04/03/2017 12:00 PM »
If you can make a simulation of yourself then that simulation could live longer, but the original you would still have to go through the process of dying eventually.

As for creating that simulation in the first place, no one knows how memory really works so thats a way off.

Offline Rei

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #31 on: 04/03/2017 01:44 PM »
If you can make a simulation of yourself then that simulation could live longer, but the original you would still have to go through the process of dying eventually.

Please reread what I wrote.  Each neuron destroyed (apoptosis) as it's replaced by a simulated version, with the simulated version communicating with the former's live neuron's neighbors.  One after the next.   There never are "two copies", and no single moment of "in" or "out" of the simulation.  You could hit "stop" on the process at any point and continue on life, half simulated and half not, if you so chose.

Quote
s for creating that simulation in the first place, no one knows how memory really works so thats a way off.

While I wouldn't exactly use those words, there's no question we're not discussing anything near-term.


Offline nacnud

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #32 on: 04/03/2017 01:58 PM »
I stand by the statement that nobody knows how memory works.

Quote
The science behind memory is a complex one, and will likely be studied for decades to come. "Many different pathways in the brain interact to set up complex circuits for different types of memories," Griffith said. "There's much debate and more research that needs to be done to fully comprehend how our brain generates, consolidates and retrieves memories."

Texas A&M University. "How does memory work?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2016.

The idea that you could replace living cells by simulated ones is a fair idea for science fiction but it is even further from possible than understanding how memory works.


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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #33 on: 04/03/2017 03:30 PM »

This. The real threat is humanity itself. The "lack of jobs" is a big topic. As every economist knows, there is no lack of jobs as long as wages can go low enough (in the long run), so the real issue is wage inequality. In our societies where the worth of a human being for society is largely measured by the worth of his labor this is a big issue, because large parts of society will be declared "worthless" (the deplorables) the more AI takes over.

No good economist would tell you that. Lower wages --> lower demand. Higher wages --> higher demand. Both can lead to low or high employment rates. People's (un)willingness to spend/invest what they earn is very decisive.

Back to topic: neuralink would allow remote control of highly complex machinery, with sensory perception of resistance, structure etc right? Does that mean EVA's would no longer be necessary on Mars, and no crew would be necessary in LEO?

Offline Rei

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #34 on: 04/03/2017 04:06 PM »
I stand by the statement that nobody knows how memory works.

Quote
The science behind memory is a complex one, and will likely be studied for decades to come. "Many different pathways in the brain interact to set up complex circuits for different types of memories," Griffith said. "There's much debate and more research that needs to be done to fully comprehend how our brain generates, consolidates and retrieves memories."

Texas A&M University. "How does memory work?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2016.

You can read pop science reporting, or you could read actual research.

https://scholar.google.is/scholar?as_ylo=2013&q=memory+brain&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

The short: no, we don't know everything. But "no one knows how memory really works" is too strong of a statement, there's quite a bit that we do know about memory (people haven't been, for example, doing FMRI memory studies since the early 90s for giggles).

More to the point, however, you're looking at it from the wrong perspective. Memory is an emergent behavior. You don't try to model an emergent behavior from the top down, but the bottom up: modeling how constituent components behave. Starting at memory to model the brain is like starting trying to model Conway's Game of Life by trying to invent an algorithm to draw the pictures it creates and how they evolve without modeling the rules that control each cell.

Not that we can even fully simulate individual neurons either at present. But that's at least the direction one has to take. And we're definitely closer on that front. Ex.:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867415011915


Offline nacnud

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #35 on: 04/03/2017 04:38 PM »
I'm aware of the functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, and the latest progress towards mapping neural structures. I agree that memory is an emergent property of the system. A lot of progress has been made.

However it's far from a solved problem. Far enough for me to be comfortable to say that exactly how it works is unknown.

I'm not trying to discredit and of the work already done, just to highlight how difficult the Neuralink is.

Thanks for linking to peer reviewed papers this discussion would be a lot more informative if more people took the time to do the reading :)


Offline Rei

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #36 on: 04/03/2017 05:01 PM »
I'm aware of the functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, and the latest progress towards mapping neural structures. I agree that memory is an emergent property of the system. A lot of progress has been made.

However it's far from a solved problem. Far enough for me to be comfortable to say that exactly how it works is unknown.

I'm not trying to discredit and of the work already done, just to highlight how difficult the Neuralink is.

Thanks for linking to peer reviewed papers this discussion would be a lot more informative if more people took the time to do the reading :)

I fully agree!  :)  And honestly, I think we're actually largely in agreement here and just dancing around linguistic issues - "we know a lot, but there's still a lot more to know"  ;)

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #37 on: 04/04/2017 07:41 PM »
Martin Rees comments seem relevant to this thread.

Robots will wipe us out and then rule our planet for billions of years, Astronomer Royal warns

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/robots-will-wipe-us-out-and-then-rule-our-planet-for-billions-of-years-astronomer-royal-warns-084831732.html

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #38 on: 04/05/2017 05:51 AM »
Martin Rees comments seem relevant to this thread.

Robots will wipe us out and then rule our planet for billions of years, Astronomer Royal warns

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/robots-will-wipe-us-out-and-then-rule-our-planet-for-billions-of-years-astronomer-royal-warns-084831732.html

Clickbait title. He says intelligent species eventually will replace their biological bodies with electronic ones. So any alien life is either far less intelligent or has already gone through that process.

If that job title said 'neuroscientist' or 'AI expert', not looking for funding, it would be more than just an opinion. Unless the statement was specifically about why we haven't found life yet, which is closer to his professional expertise.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #39 on: 04/06/2017 10:52 AM »
AI sounds magical until you study it at university and you realize it's just glorified statistics.

Don't confuse current "machine learning" techniques with the far more general subject of AI.

And, anyway, current machine learning techniques have statistics as a theoretical underpinning, but that doesn't mean they are just glorified statistics.  It's like saying a cell phone is just glorified wires.


Offline Vultur

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #40 on: 04/09/2017 04:53 AM »
And nothing about AI is supposed to be alarming yet. It's just a simple question of: do we have a pseudo religious belief that the human brain can never be exceeded in creativity, understanding, expression, and flexibility? Because I don't see any fundamental reason why the human brain cannot be superceded one day in capability. It's that very basic fact that motivates all this. How do you keep humans from becoming hopelessly obsolete?

If that seems absurd to you, then please make a sound case that the human brain can never be exceeded in the areas I've outlined.

Maybe not never, but it's not going to happen in our lifetimes. We don't even understand the human brain well enough to fix very simple chemical imbalances (treat with medication, yes, but not cure)

I don't know about you, but I'd think that the ultimate way that machines could "serve us" would be to cure us of the great incurable disease - mortality.

Eh - that assumes that physical immortality is desirable, which I'm not at all convinced of. Living to 150 or 200 would be nice, and I think probably workable, but I'm not at all convinced that a mind could deal with - say - 2,000 years of (subjectively experienced) time, remain sane, and still be what we'd consider 'human' (in the "internal" sense, not the biological species sense).

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #41 on: 04/09/2017 05:13 AM »
And nothing about AI is supposed to be alarming yet. It's just a simple question of: do we have a pseudo religious belief that the human brain can never be exceeded in creativity, understanding, expression, and flexibility? Because I don't see any fundamental reason why the human brain cannot be superceded one day in capability. It's that very basic fact that motivates all this. How do you keep humans from becoming hopelessly obsolete?

If that seems absurd to you, then please make a sound case that the human brain can never be exceeded in the areas I've outlined.

Maybe not never, but it's not going to happen in our lifetimes. We don't even understand the human brain well enough to fix very simple chemical imbalances (treat with medication, yes, but not cure)

We don't have to fully understand the human brain to exceed it.

Computers today can exceed the human brain in many ways already.  It's impossible to say with any certainty in what other way we will exceed the human brain 5 or 10 years from today.  All we have to do is exceed it in some critical way that lets our machines design even better computers and you get a very fast runaway explosion in the intelligence of computers.

I don't know about you, but I'd think that the ultimate way that machines could "serve us" would be to cure us of the great incurable disease - mortality.

Eh - that assumes that physical immortality is desirable, which I'm not at all convinced of. Living to 150 or 200 would be nice, and I think probably workable, but I'm not at all convinced that a mind could deal with - say - 2,000 years of (subjectively experienced) time, remain sane, and still be what we'd consider 'human' (in the "internal" sense, not the biological species sense).

We've never experienced life for 2,000 years, so it's just speculation, but I see no evidence that this would be particularly unpleasant.

And, if it did lead to some unpleasantness, I think it likely we could tweak our minds a bit to bring us back into continuing to live happy lives for billions of years and still be what most people would consider human in the internal sense.

Offline Vultur

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #42 on: 04/09/2017 05:30 AM »
We don't have to fully understand the human brain to exceed it.

Computers today can exceed the human brain in many ways already.

In many ways, but not the ways you need to get strong AI/sapience.

Quote
All we have to do is exceed it in some critical way that lets our machines design even better computers and you get a very fast runaway explosion in the intelligence of computers.

Eh... the word intelligence gets used in different ways, and I think that's a critical ambiguity here. I don't think any degree of improvement in the sorts of things computers now do will lead to strong AI/sapience. The nature of digital electronics is fundamentally different from brains in (IMO) critical ways.

Which isn't to say AI is fundamentally impossible, just that it probably won't arise from current approaches or developments of current computing technologies.

Online Lar

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #43 on: 04/09/2017 12:49 PM »
Do the laws of physics prevent us from building a machine based consciousness that is superior to humans in some ways? Or from building devices that let us interface directly from the brain? Or from modeling neurons with high enough fidelity that we can expect emergent behavior?

I think the answer is no to all of the above. Physics does not prevent any of this. So, while all of this may be terrifically hard, I don't see it as impossible.

That said... (mod hat on) let's not go down the general political hole of what societal and economic effects automation has. Some people voiced some opinions (that automation causes overall unemployment, for example) that are not necessarily fact. Debating those would be far far off topic even if this were the Space Policy section, which it isn't. Thanks!

(anyone is welcome to go to my wall on FB and we could have a discussion there... but this isn't there)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Ludus

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #44 on: 04/20/2017 05:35 PM »
It's worth noting that  http://waitbutwhy.com will have a post soon that's a sort of semi-official explanation of this project.

Tim Urban isn't one for meeting deadlines but he does talk to Musk extensively before writing one of his long essays.

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #45 on: 04/20/2017 09:15 PM »
It's worth noting that  http://waitbutwhy.com will have a post soon that's a sort of semi-official explanation of this project.

Tim Urban isn't one for meeting deadlines but he does talk to Musk extensively before writing one of his long essays.
And the article is out: Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future. As an engineer in the biomedical sector with some transhumanist tendencies, I am very much looking forward to reading it through.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 09:20 PM by Navier–Stokes »

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #46 on: 04/20/2017 09:42 PM »
Facebook wants to get in on this sector as well.

Look under the section about the secretive Building 8.

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/04/f8-2017-day-2/

Offline stefan r

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #47 on: 04/21/2017 02:08 AM »
What uses could this brain/machine interface have in spaceflight?

There is one that I find fascinating. I have often envisioned a future where partially intelligent robots would enable the extension of the human intellect into situations that were not local, so that using devices that were on location the human, who could be thousands of miles away, would be functional at the site. We have already partially achieved this. We see this occasionally on the evening news when we watch a scene where a drone aircraft attacks ground targets, but the pilot is thousands of miles away in a comfortable room in Virginia. This is “teleoperation” and has been mentioned several times in several threads and topics on this site, specifically wrt operating machines on the surface of the moon or Mars from the comfort of a stand-off orbit above. Now take this one step further and go from teleoperation to telepresence. The neural interfaces that Mr. Musk is speaking of could allow the operator, still in stand-off orbit, to experience the surface environment as if they were literally on the surface. With sophisticated enough robots equipped with these sensors and connected to a human operator also so equipped, the operator would be looking through the robots eyes, hearing with the robot’s ears, feeling with the robot’s hands. The robot on the surface would be, in effect, an avatar of the operator. I assume most people here have seen that movie? Regardless of the film’s plot, such an avatar, of some suitable shape and function, is what I envision Mr. Musk could be thinking of.

Imagine being able to actually work on the surface of Io, or Europa for example, while neurally linked to an avatar on the surface while you remained safe and secure in orbit in your ship or aboard an orbiting research station. Would that not be a capability the space program might find useful?

Why limit your senses?  You could flux the magnetic field.  See the polarization.  Shades of microwave could blend with green and UV-C.  You could also mix the sense types.  Sonar and topography scanning come to mind.  Within our sense of vision we have both focal and peripheral.  That could be greatly extended.  You could see 360 and/or microscope and/or telescope.  You could also see an object from multiple angles up to 360 if it was inside your sensor array.

The human brain automatically filters a lot of data.  Your eyes pick up photons.  Part of the brain will screen for faces at the same time that other parts of the brain screen for things like motion.  Ideas like "it is a humanoid", "it is named Bob", and "I am going to run into it if we continue on the course" come to the conscious mind from different parts of the brain.  Usually the anti-collision awareness gets the message and acts before your conscious mind gets the message.  That could be useful in spaceflight.

Everyone likes to talk about rocket science.  The cyborg horror is best illustrated by the effect of the radio bar code reader.  In practice amazon employees already interface between human muscles and the servers in fulfillment centers.  Employees move around like zombies and do not (usually) consciously think about what they are doing.  With a direct cyborg connection you can read barcode directly through the eye.  Braille barcodes could be read with touch. 

You might know that you are holding a bottle of soylent.  With augmentation that bottle could have tastes like steak, chocolate, or perhaps wine from Kathrine the Great's cellar.  After lunch you will be turned on by the idea of filling another tote. Dropping it on the conveyor will give you both relief and great satisfaction.  Why think about space travel when you can punch in at work? 

Offline Ludus

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #48 on: 04/21/2017 04:00 PM »
It's worth noting that  http://waitbutwhy.com will have a post soon that's a sort of semi-official explanation of this project.

Tim Urban isn't one for meeting deadlines but he does talk to Musk extensively before writing one of his long essays.
And the article is out: Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future. As an engineer in the biomedical sector with some transhumanist tendencies, I am very much looking forward to reading it through.

This is a 38,000 word post with lots of illustrations and is I think very well done. It's definitely worth reading to get an idea of what Musk's intentions are with Neuralink.

Online philw1776

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #49 on: 04/21/2017 06:43 PM »
Elon's wrong about us possibly being pets to AI like house cats.  Humans have been unconsciously enslaved by cats to do their bidding.  Watch a human and cat interact about opening a door to look/go outside.
“When it looks more like an alien dreadnought, that’s when you know you’ve won.”

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #50 on: 04/21/2017 10:49 PM »
It's worth noting that  http://waitbutwhy.com will have a post soon that's a sort of semi-official explanation of this project.

Tim Urban isn't one for meeting deadlines but he does talk to Musk extensively before writing one of his long essays.
And the article is out: Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future. As an engineer in the biomedical sector with some transhumanist tendencies, I am very much looking forward to reading it through.

This is a 38,000 word post with lots of illustrations and is I think very well done. It's definitely worth reading to get an idea of what Musk's intentions are with Neuralink.

Very good piece. In my book you can often tell the worth of a piece like this by how much new you learn from it, which in this case was a lot.

Offline Ludus

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #51 on: 04/22/2017 02:24 AM »
Elon's wrong about us possibly being pets to AI like house cats.  Humans have been unconsciously enslaved by cats to do their bidding.  Watch a human and cat interact about opening a door to look/go outside.

Musk said he considered the housecat outcome one of the good ones. So he probably would agree.

Offline stefan r

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #52 on: 04/22/2017 11:34 AM »
It's worth noting that  http://waitbutwhy.com will have a post soon that's a sort of semi-official explanation of this project.

Tim Urban isn't one for meeting deadlines but he does talk to Musk extensively before writing one of his long essays.
And the article is out: Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future. As an engineer in the biomedical sector with some transhumanist tendencies, I am very much looking forward to reading it through.

This is a 38,000 word post with lots of illustrations and is I think very well done. It's definitely worth reading to get an idea of what Musk's intentions are with Neuralink.

Very good piece. In my book you can often tell the worth of a piece like this by how much new you learn from it, which in this case was a lot.

Is a very good article.
Quote
I asked Elon a question that pops into everyone’s mind when they first hear about thought communication:

“So, um, will everyone be able to know what I’m thinking?”

He assured me they would not. “People won’t be able to read your thoughts—you would have to will it. If you don’t will it, it doesn’t happen. Just like if you don’t will your mouth to talk, it doesn’t talk.” Phew.
How can he claim that?  I cannot decide to not perceive an itch. My headaches do not go away without drugs,  and my wife distracts me about feeding the cat while I am trying to write a forum post.  Data is constantly entering the upper brain involuntarily.  Why would the tertiary brain be any different?  Not sending signals could be like holding your breath, slowing your heart, or holding on to an object that is burning you.  Maybe harder like adjusting your liver output. 

Offline Star One

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Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #53 on: 04/22/2017 11:42 AM »
I re-posted a link to the article in a general sci-fi forum where you thought people would be keen to hear about this future. Instead I got lots of people posting about they weren't going to let the government or companies put things in their head.... Ironically a number of these appeared to have been posted from their smartphones judging by the signatures.
« Last Edit: 04/22/2017 11:43 AM by Star One »

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #54 on: 04/22/2017 04:14 PM »
It's worth noting that  http://waitbutwhy.com will have a post soon that's a sort of semi-official explanation of this project.

Tim Urban isn't one for meeting deadlines but he does talk to Musk extensively before writing one of his long essays.
And the article is out: Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future. As an engineer in the biomedical sector with some transhumanist tendencies, I am very much looking forward to reading it through.

This is a 38,000 word post with lots of illustrations and is I think very well done. It's definitely worth reading to get an idea of what Musk's intentions are with Neuralink.

Very good piece. In my book you can often tell the worth of a piece like this by how much new you learn from it, which in this case was a lot.

Is a very good article.
Quote
I asked Elon a question that pops into everyone’s mind when they first hear about thought communication:

“So, um, will everyone be able to know what I’m thinking?”

He assured me they would not. “People won’t be able to read your thoughts—you would have to will it. If you don’t will it, it doesn’t happen. Just like if you don’t will your mouth to talk, it doesn’t talk.” Phew.
How can he claim that?  I cannot decide to not perceive an itch. My headaches do not go away without drugs,  and my wife distracts me about feeding the cat while I am trying to write a forum post.  Data is constantly entering the upper brain involuntarily.  Why would the tertiary brain be any different?  Not sending signals could be like holding your breath, slowing your heart, or holding on to an object that is burning you.  Maybe harder like adjusting your liver output.

It depends on the technology and how the device is designed. If the interface is designed like a smartphone built into your brain that interfaces with your senses, then you would have to mentally manipulate it. It wouldn't read all of your thoughts, just the ones you direct to the device.

For example, when you use your phone to send a text, the person receiving the text only gets the information you sent them, not the thought process behind the message.

However, if the device does interface with your senses, you could be "hacked" just like a smart phone. The hacker wouldn't read your thoughts, but could see and hear everything you do. That would take the concept of "Big Brother" surveillance to a new level.

Even if you couldn't be hacked, you could still record. Remember how people reacted to Google Glass and the ability to take pictures without people knowing? Another blow against your privacy even if you don't have an interface.

Offline sanman

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #55 on: 04/23/2017 07:26 PM »
Who's to say that this type of interface might not get hacked? In the age of cyber-theft and industrial espionage, all kinds of things can be subverted that we never really gave consideration to, including even your cable TV set top box.

In the age of the Internet of Things, people are already worried that the devices they use are invisibly reporting back data on their usage back to others, in a way that we have no control over. Do you want a device that's able to monitor your thoughts, or the state of your brain, and sending it to who knows where?

What happens if there's an electronic glitch? You might be the recipient of some unpleasant feedback.

There are already concerns about the electric and magnetic fields of devices like cellphones and electric razors potentially being able to cause cancer. Who knows what the medical effects can be? When even VR displays have been known to cause nausea, etc, who knows what kind of unpleasant effects could be caused by a more intimate interface. Our brains did not evolve to be plugged in like this.

And then there's the idea that we'll all somehow wind up plugged into the Matrix - that this voluntary gadget eventually becomes an involuntary, imposed thing - a technology that could be misused and abused.

Still, telepresence could be essential to space operations, and making fuller use of robotics.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #56 on: 04/23/2017 07:36 PM »
No one. Including not the author of the Wait But Why article, which devotes a section to concerns like this.
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Offline sanman

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #57 on: 04/23/2017 09:06 PM »
Okay, I just read that section, and here are further thoughts:

Regarding that whole "sensory decoupling" thing - then you could end up with electronic opioids, like William Shatner's "Tek" novels. People would literally spend all their time getting high by electronically stimulating their neurons, and they'd all become a bunch of addicts wasting away.

They say the younger generation these days are already developing ADHD because of all their interaction with portable electronic devices. Some people even have an aversion to face-to-face communication, preferring texting because they offer the insulation from emotional unpleasantries. Likewise, brain-to-brain communication might similarly create aversions to other more physical forms of communication, or other weird psychological eccentricities.

But anyway, brain-machine interface might allow a more seamless usage and operation of machinery that could function in hostile environments, whether in the vacuum of space, or on the surface of Moon/Mars/etc, or inside a radiation-filled nuclear reactor.

It might be very useful to effortlessly "slip on" a machine, like putting on a coat, to immediately begin operating and manipulating it. In an emergency situation, perhaps such time-saving could mean the difference between life and death.

However, the more closely we integrate technology to ourselves, the more it changes us.
"When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back."

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #58 on: 04/23/2017 09:07 PM »
Who's to say that this type of interface might not get hacked? In the age of cyber-theft and industrial espionage, all kinds of things can be subverted that we never really gave consideration to, including even your cable TV set top box.

In the age of the Internet of Things, people are already worried that the devices they use are invisibly reporting back data on their usage back to others, in a way that we have no control over. Do you want a device that's able to monitor your thoughts, or the state of your brain, and sending it to who knows where?

What happens if there's an electronic glitch? You might be the recipient of some unpleasant feedback.

There are already concerns about the electric and magnetic fields of devices like cellphones and electric razors potentially being able to cause cancer. Who knows what the medical effects can be? When even VR displays have been known to cause nausea, etc, who knows what kind of unpleasant effects could be caused by a more intimate interface. Our brains did not evolve to be plugged in like this.

And then there's the idea that we'll all somehow wind up plugged into the Matrix - that this voluntary gadget eventually becomes an involuntary, imposed thing - a technology that could be misused and abused.

Still, telepresence could be essential to space operations, and making fuller use of robotics.

The business about them causing cancer has been unproved so far and in the case of phones it's something that's been studied multiple times.

Offline sanman

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #59 on: 04/23/2017 09:51 PM »
Here's a critique from MIT Tech Review on why this won't be so easy to do on Musk's timeline:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604254/with-neuralink-elon-musk-promises-human-to-human-telepathy-dont-believe-it/

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #60 on: 04/23/2017 10:02 PM »
Okay, I just read that section, and here are further thoughts:

Regarding that whole "sensory decoupling" thing - then you could end up with electronic opioids, like William Shatner's "Tek" novels. People would literally spend all their time getting high by electronically stimulating their neurons, and they'd all become a bunch of addicts wasting away.

They say the younger generation these days are already developing ADHD because of all their interaction with portable electronic devices. Some people even have an aversion to face-to-face communication, preferring texting because they offer the insulation from emotional unpleasantries. Likewise, brain-to-brain communication might similarly create aversions to other more physical forms of communication, or other weird psychological eccentricities.

But anyway, brain-machine interface might allow a more seamless usage and operation of machinery that could function in hostile environments, whether in the vacuum of space, or on the surface of Moon/Mars/etc, or inside a radiation-filled nuclear reactor.

It might be very useful to effortlessly "slip on" a machine, like putting on a coat, to immediately begin operating and manipulating it. In an emergency situation, perhaps such time-saving could mean the difference between life and death.

However, the more closely we integrate technology to ourselves, the more it changes us.
"When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back."
I completely agree that it could become a high tech opium den.

Like the opium den of dreamers in this Inception clip:
« Last Edit: 04/24/2017 12:55 AM by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #61 on: 04/24/2017 01:41 AM »
This makes me think of something else. Suppose Neuralink is fully and wildly successful. Would not the experiences possible with Neuralink dwarf anything in the real world by, like, orders of magnitude? Might Neuralink unwittingly create a planet-wide opium den of dreamers since the experience would just be too compelling? Of course, such a situation may be unstable... Even if a good system is built to automatically sustain the dreamers, eventually it may fall into decay and everyone/anything with a knowledge and desire to keep the system going may have died off. (That's the plot of the remarkable >100 year old scifi short story "The Machine Stops.")

Anyway, maybe Neuralink will simply be the exchanging of one existential risk for another.

Something like this may be part of the resolution of the Fermi Paradox.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline stefan r

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #62 on: 04/24/2017 02:35 AM »
This makes me think of something else. Suppose Neuralink is fully and wildly successful. Would not the experiences possible with Neuralink dwarf anything in the real world by, like, orders of magnitude? Might Neuralink unwittingly create a planet-wide opium den of dreamers since the experience would just be too compelling? Of course, such a situation may be unstable... Even if a good system is built to automatically sustain the dreamers, eventually it may fall into decay and everyone/anything with a knowledge and desire to keep the system going may have died off. (That's the plot of the remarkable >100 year old scifi short story "The Machine Stops.")

Anyway, maybe Neuralink will simply be the exchanging of one existential risk for another.

Something like this may be part of the resolution of the Fermi Paradox.
Already happened with agriculture.  Then with civilizations.  Recognizing the decay does not mean you can reverse. 
Who's to say that this type of interface might not get hacked? In the age of cyber-theft and industrial espionage, all kinds of things can be subverted that we never really gave consideration to, including even your cable TV set top box.

In the age of the Internet of Things, people are already worried that the devices they use are invisibly reporting back data on their usage back to others, in a way that we have no control over. Do you want a device that's able to monitor your thoughts, or the state of your brain, and sending it to who knows where?

What happens if there's an electronic glitch? You might be the recipient of some unpleasant feedback.

There are already concerns about the electric and magnetic fields of devices like cellphones and electric razors potentially being able to cause cancer. Who knows what the medical effects can be? When even VR displays have been known to cause nausea, etc, who knows what kind of unpleasant effects could be caused by a more intimate interface. Our brains did not evolve to be plugged in like this.

And then there's the idea that we'll all somehow wind up plugged into the Matrix - that this voluntary gadget eventually becomes an involuntary, imposed thing - a technology that could be misused and abused.

Still, telepresence could be essential to space operations, and making fuller use of robotics.

The business about them causing cancer has been unproved so far and in the case of phones it's something that's been studied multiple times.
The articles about cellphone I read were confident that "the microwave radiation is not penetrating the skull enough to cause cancer".  That was explicitly contrasting with the effect of microwaving brain tissue.  The device only works if it effects brain cells and brain chemistry.  There is no barrier and if the effect is to small for detection then the project obviously failed.
 
Are you seriously suggesting that injecting inorganics into the brain is always reliably save?  At a bare minimum I would place this as much more dangerous than getting injections.  I have donated gallons of blood, also blood plasma, and I get my flu vaccine.  But I believe there are real risks and I watch what they are doing when they draw blood. 

This is different from just a risk of infection or side effects.  The purpose of a BMI is to modify the brain.  The intended outcome is to cause a growth.  Athletes who take steroids are more likely to pull tendons.  This is not really a side effect and it is not a contamination.  The tendons pull because the muscles grew larger.  Steroids also decrease natural steroid production (this is a side effect). 

Reading and writing decreases a persons ability to memorize.  Blind people tend to have a sharper sense of hearing.  A high bandwidth BMI will cause major changes in how we think.  There will be some negative consequences and it would be wise to be prepared. 

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #63 on: 04/24/2017 09:26 AM »
This makes me think of something else. Suppose Neuralink is fully and wildly successful. Would not the experiences possible with Neuralink dwarf anything in the real world by, like, orders of magnitude? Might Neuralink unwittingly create a planet-wide opium den of dreamers since the experience would just be too compelling? Of course, such a situation may be unstable... Even if a good system is built to automatically sustain the dreamers, eventually it may fall into decay and everyone/anything with a knowledge and desire to keep the system going may have died off. (That's the plot of the remarkable >100 year old scifi short story "The Machine Stops.")

Anyway, maybe Neuralink will simply be the exchanging of one existential risk for another.

Something like this may be part of the resolution of the Fermi Paradox.
Already happened with agriculture.  Then with civilizations.  Recognizing the decay does not mean you can reverse. 
Who's to say that this type of interface might not get hacked? In the age of cyber-theft and industrial espionage, all kinds of things can be subverted that we never really gave consideration to, including even your cable TV set top box.

In the age of the Internet of Things, people are already worried that the devices they use are invisibly reporting back data on their usage back to others, in a way that we have no control over. Do you want a device that's able to monitor your thoughts, or the state of your brain, and sending it to who knows where?

What happens if there's an electronic glitch? You might be the recipient of some unpleasant feedback.

There are already concerns about the electric and magnetic fields of devices like cellphones and electric razors potentially being able to cause cancer. Who knows what the medical effects can be? When even VR displays have been known to cause nausea, etc, who knows what kind of unpleasant effects could be caused by a more intimate interface. Our brains did not evolve to be plugged in like this.

And then there's the idea that we'll all somehow wind up plugged into the Matrix - that this voluntary gadget eventually becomes an involuntary, imposed thing - a technology that could be misused and abused.

Still, telepresence could be essential to space operations, and making fuller use of robotics.

The business about them causing cancer has been unproved so far and in the case of phones it's something that's been studied multiple times.
The articles about cellphone I read were confident that "the microwave radiation is not penetrating the skull enough to cause cancer".  That was explicitly contrasting with the effect of microwaving brain tissue.  The device only works if it effects brain cells and brain chemistry.  There is no barrier and if the effect is to small for detection then the project obviously failed.
 
Are you seriously suggesting that injecting inorganics into the brain is always reliably save?  At a bare minimum I would place this as much more dangerous than getting injections.  I have donated gallons of blood, also blood plasma, and I get my flu vaccine.  But I believe there are real risks and I watch what they are doing when they draw blood. 

This is different from just a risk of infection or side effects.  The purpose of a BMI is to modify the brain.  The intended outcome is to cause a growth.  Athletes who take steroids are more likely to pull tendons.  This is not really a side effect and it is not a contamination.  The tendons pull because the muscles grew larger.  Steroids also decrease natural steroid production (this is a side effect). 

Reading and writing decreases a persons ability to memorize.  Blind people tend to have a sharper sense of hearing.  A high bandwidth BMI will cause major changes in how we think.  There will be some negative consequences and it would be wise to be prepared.

It was quite clear my comment was limited to the research on the effects or not of mobile phones and nothing more or less.

Offline Cinder

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #64 on: 04/25/2017 12:57 PM »
Reading and writing decreases a persons ability to memorize.
That's increase, right?

Here's a critique from MIT Tech Review on why this won't be so easy to do on Musk's timeline:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604254/with-neuralink-elon-musk-promises-human-to-human-telepathy-dont-believe-it/
Does the WBW article actually promise that telepathy will happen within years?  I remember a part of the article discusses that timeframe, but I don't recall it being specifically that promise, that soon.

Also with how blurry the disctinction is, between 'telepathy' the inherently amiguous and handwavy notion vs. BMI in reality, we technically have telepathy already.  At least between those rats. 

And I vaguely recall the WBW article specifically characterizing the early adopter demographic as weirdos/eccentrics/wealthy and these necessarily being after the medical applications.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 01:12 PM by Cinder »
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Offline stefan r

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #65 on: 04/25/2017 10:28 PM »
Reading and writing decreases a persons ability to memorize.
That's increase, right?


No.  Decrease.  Cultures with no reading and writing will preserve stories in oral traditions.  For example the Illiad in ancient Greek and Genesis in pre-Babylon Hebrew.  It is very rare to find modern Americans who can recite an entire story.  In societies with oral traditions memorizing the script is normal and can often be done with word for word accuracy over several generations. 

I was reading a fiction book by Kim Stanley-Robinson this afternoon.  I can recall the plot and most of the story line for the chapters I read. It is unlikely that any sentences would be in the same paragraph order.  It would be difficult to match my sentences to Kim's sentences.  The words coming out of my mouth would be mostly mine and not Kim's.  This is "normal" for Americans I talk to regularly.  We do not memorize the words in stories.  We do not have the capability if we wanted to memorize them. 

20 years ago I could memorize 7 digit phone numbers easily.  With effort one dial or one typing would be enough to store phone numbers in long term memory.  Now I struggle to remember my own cell phone number.  I would worry about losing my mind except that other people experience the same phenomenon.  Because the cell phone stores our numbers we habitually call from an easy access list.  Now my mind has changed.  It is hard to remember my one cell number even though I need that number frequently. 

The ability to store millions of books in libraries gives our culture more memory than non-literate cultures.  No one can read the library of congress.  Reciting it would take many lifetimes.  But people in a non-literate culture usually have a mental capability that most people in our culture lack. 

Offline Cinder

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #66 on: 04/26/2017 12:28 AM »
Quote
  It is very rare to find modern Americans who can recite an entire story.
In first grade we were made to memorize a 6 page poem.  A couple years later we had to memorize every single major city of every major department (of which there were almost 100), among other things.   So it seems more like what's in the curriculum rather than whether it's verbal or written.

I reckon this will be more of the same.  Distrophic misuses and clever uses, junkies and smart users.  There's definitely going to be pitfalls, but it's not hard to see the benefits of a suite of hardware that's slaved to astronauts, in LEO or on Mars or deep space, via their motor cortex.
« Last Edit: 04/26/2017 12:30 AM by Cinder »
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Offline MichaelBlackbourn

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #67 on: 04/27/2017 01:54 AM »
Like the concern about the SpaceX moon mission why don't we let the adopters concern themselves with the pitfalls. Want to be left behind? no problem.

'Something' in the future is going to get really really good at shaping that future to it's own needs. That might be us, or it might be an AI. Better to have it be some form of us than a rogue algorithm. Some psudo AlphaGo optimizing paperclip manufacturing by using all the iron atoms in our blood.

Bring on the mind machine interface ASAP. Like Musk says, we may not have that much time.

Offline sanman

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #68 on: 04/28/2017 09:31 PM »
'Something' in the future is going to get really really good at shaping that future to it's own needs. That might be us, or it might be an AI. Better to have it be some form of us than a rogue algorithm. Some psudo AlphaGo optimizing paperclip manufacturing by using all the iron atoms in our blood.

What needs would an AI have? Does an alarm clock have needs, does a microwave oven have needs? You (and Musk) are forgetting that AI isn't wedded to any biological paraphernalia - it has no evolutionary history derived from Darwinian survival. AI has no need or drive to survive - any more than this post would have, if I clicked the cancel button.

(OMG, I just noticed there's no cancel button - is this a conspiracy?)

Anyway, whatever AI ends up surviving and evolving, will do so because it's meeting OUR needs well enough that we don't throw it in the trash bin. It would take quite a dramatic mutation to go from serving our needs exclusively to suddenly serving its own needs exclusively.

It's not as if the "laws of AI" have to conform to Asimov's "3 laws of robotics"
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 09:32 PM by sanman »

Offline stefan r

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #69 on: 05/01/2017 03:43 PM »
Quote
  It is very rare to find modern Americans who can recite an entire story.
In first grade we were made to memorize a 6 page poem.  A couple years later we had to memorize every single major city of every major department (of which there were almost 100), among other things.   So it seems more like what's in the curriculum rather than whether it's verbal or written.

I reckon this will be more of the same.  Distrophic misuses and clever uses, junkies and smart users.  There's definitely going to be pitfalls, but it's not hard to see the benefits of a suite of hardware that's slaved to astronauts, in LEO or on Mars or deep space, via their motor cortex.

I agree. Or rather do not see anything incorrect in that statement.  If the only people getting neuralink's product are astronauts, the blind, and paraplegics then it probably will not have a measurable effect on the culture. 

Companies that effect how humans think are modifying our culture.  It is good practice to keep an eye on them.  While keeping an eye on them we should determine if they are allies. 

Digging an actual pit could have benefits and it can be a real pitfall.  Digging is legal but you need to get a permit to do it.  It is not legal to dig a pit in traffic through ways.  Sewer and water distribution service companies are an obvious exception.  However, a contractor has to have a plan for repairing and replacing the road before the city approves a permit to dig the hole.  While working on the hole contractors are required to direct traffic away from the pit.  In my city I see 1/2 inch steel plates covering holes in the road.  Barricades and traffic cones show up too. 

Imagine parking a backhoe unlocked, keys in the ignition, in a neighborhood where bored teenagers are struggling to find alcohol on the weekend.  There is such a thing as criminal negligence.  Is best to have a lockable ignition switch installed when the backhoe is manufactured. 

Flying is legal.  Driving is legal.  Driving on the wrong side of the road is not legal.  Driving drunk is not legal.  You have to have a license to drive.   Blind people do not get licenses to drive.  Cars are required to be registered and to have inspection stickers.  You are not allowed to fly airplanes in routes that intersect other airplanes.  There are a lot of rules and regulations.  I am able to use a car daily and ride airplanes frequently.  The regulations on airplanes and cars make it safer to use them which in turn makes us feel like we have freedom to use them. 

Proving that a technology will have some benefit does not end the discussion.  There should be an effort to recognize adverse effects and an effort to search for ways of avoiding or at least minimizing the damage. 

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #70 on: 05/04/2017 07:48 PM »
Is it me or is this article pretty muddled up in what it wants to say?

Experts Have Revealed The Potential Dangers of Elon Musk's Neuralink Brain Interface

Quote
What it really all comes down to is this: across a number of fields at the intersection of law, philosophy, technology and society we are going to need answers to questions no one has yet thought of asking (at least not often enough; and for the right reasons).

We have faced, are facing, and will face incredibly complex and overwhelming problems that we may well not like the answers to. But it matters that we ask good questions early and often. If we don't, they'll be answered for us.

And so Neuralink is probably a bad idea, but to the first person who fell into a firepit, so was fire. On a long enough time line even the worst ideas need to be reckoned with early on.

Now who wants a Juicero?

http://www.sciencealert.com/experts-reveal-the-potential-dangers-of-elon-musk-s-neuralink-brain-interface

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #71 on: 05/05/2017 03:11 AM »
This makes me think of something else. Suppose Neuralink is fully and wildly successful. Would not the experiences possible with Neuralink dwarf anything in the real world by, like, orders of magnitude? Might Neuralink unwittingly create a planet-wide opium den of dreamers since the experience would just be too compelling? Of course, such a situation may be unstable... Even if a good system is built to automatically sustain the dreamers, eventually it may fall into decay and everyone/anything with a knowledge and desire to keep the system going may have died off. (That's the plot of the remarkable >100 year old scifi short story "The Machine Stops.")

Anyway, maybe Neuralink will simply be the exchanging of one existential risk for another.

Something like this may be part of the resolution of the Fermi Paradox.

Sometimes I wonder if we're heading towards the situation described in that story.

Is it me or is this article pretty muddled up in what it wants to say?

Experts Have Revealed The Potential Dangers of Elon Musk's Neuralink Brain Interface

Quote
What it really all comes down to is this: across a number of fields at the intersection of law, philosophy, technology and society we are going to need answers to questions no one has yet thought of asking (at least not often enough; and for the right reasons).

We have faced, are facing, and will face incredibly complex and overwhelming problems that we may well not like the answers to. But it matters that we ask good questions early and often. If we don't, they'll be answered for us.

And so Neuralink is probably a bad idea, but to the first person who fell into a firepit, so was fire. On a long enough time line even the worst ideas need to be reckoned with early on.

Now who wants a Juicero?

http://www.sciencealert.com/experts-reveal-the-potential-dangers-of-elon-musk-s-neuralink-brain-interface

I can see this having a lot of the problems shown in Ghost in the shell and ghost hacking could actually become a real thing.
Mess with someone's perception of the world you could get them to do things against their will.

Though yah it could be all a load of snake oil like the Juicero.
« Last Edit: 05/05/2017 03:13 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Star One

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #72 on: 08/25/2017 08:14 PM »
Elon Musk's brain-interface company is raising $100 million

Quote
In March, the future-oriented entrepreneur announced a new company called Neuralink, which hopes to create a brain-to-computer interface for humans. Now, just months later, that effort has raised $27 million, and it's looking for plenty more.

Neuralink, which is developing a "neural lace" technology that just about eliminates the gap between your brain and your computer, revealed in an SEC filing that it raised the money.

http://mashable.com/2017/08/25/neuralink-elon-musk-raised-27-million/#BTckhIs5HkqF

Offline bradjensen3

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #73 on: 08/27/2017 04:58 PM »
I've been programming computers since 1970.

"Artificial intelligence" means anything with a feedback loop that responds automatically to inputs.

Your thermostat is artificially intelligent. So is your toilet.

What people are really concerned about is machine intelligence advancing to the point where an artificially intelligent machine becomes an artificial entity. 

Could we program a computer to have a sense of self, so that it chooses it's outputs in a way that benefits its sense of self, to the possible detriment to those of us that are biological  intelligences?

Yes, we could likely do that. We could program a simple form of that with the computers we have today.

The threshold we may never be able to cross, is to create a machine intelligence that has what we experience ourselves as consciousness.

A machine intelligence can win every chess game or go game on the planet, and still have zero consciousness.

Consciousness is so hard to understand, that some people assert it is an illusion or convenience programmed into our own biological software. You only think you are a 'me'.  You are really just a collection of associated rational or neurotic feedback loops that names itself.

Can we program consciousness into machine intelligences? Can they develop it spontaneously on their own?

We can program a simulation of consciousness into a machine, surely. Whether a machine intelligence can ever become something we recognize as an authentic consciousness is a lot less likely.

I think it would be great to have a slot where I could put in a tf card and suddenly become a rocket surgeon.  Of course the fact that we have no idea what the 'machine language' of the brain is or how the encoding of memories occurs, except in very general terms, means it would be hard to make the mental connection, even when the physical connection becomes possible.

Robbie the robot is still a long ways away.

In the meantime digitally enhancing ourselves sounds like a lot of fun. I just have no idea how we are going to do it.

Of course with our pcs, tablets, and phones we are already doing it





Offline stefan r

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #74 on: 08/30/2017 01:40 AM »
...
What people are really concerned about is machine intelligence advancing to the point where an artificially intelligent machine becomes an artificial entity. 

Could we program a computer to have a sense of self, ...

I thought the concern was machine intelligence advancing to the point where machine intelligence can develop better machine intelligence.  Feedback loops that go exponential are often scary.  It can go scary without having a sense of self. 

Maybe if it (he? she?) has a sense of self it will also have a self interest.  Could it get smart enough to slow down?  A sense of self might be less scary than the alternative.

Offline su27k

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #75 on: 08/30/2017 02:58 AM »
I've been programming computers since 1970.

"Artificial intelligence" means anything with a feedback loop that responds automatically to inputs.

Your thermostat is artificially intelligent. So is your toilet.

Worth pointing out AI is a big field in Computer Science, a sub-field of AI is Machine Learning, which is where all the excitement is happening. In Machine Learning, you don't program the computer to do things, you give them lots and lots of examples and the machine learns to do the right thing by themselves. The achievement of AlphaGo is so impressive (and/or frightening) because nobody programmed it to play Go, it learned how to play by first watching how human plays, then improves it's skills by playing against itself.

Offline mme

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #76 on: 08/30/2017 06:09 AM »
...

What people are really concerned about is machine intelligence advancing to the point where an artificially intelligent machine becomes an artificial entity. 

Could we program a computer to have a sense of self, so that it chooses it's outputs in a way that benefits its sense of self, to the possible detriment to those of us that are biological  intelligences?

...
Machines being self aware is not the primary concern for Musk and people in his camp. Biological viruses and bacteria wreak havok in the world without any ill or awareness of the victim.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline Dr_Zinj

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Re: Elon Musk launches Neuralink
« Reply #77 on: 11/02/2017 02:54 PM »
The concept of direct computer-brain interfacing has quite a number of applications; but you have to consider whether you are exerting mental control over the computer, or whether you are receiving stimulation from the computer.

Most people aren't disciplined enough to restrict their thoughts, so any control of a computer is going to have to short circuit the voluntary muscle system and route the stimulus to the computer, not the actual muscle group.  Think of it as being similar to bypassing muscles when dreaming.  But you're going to need feedback from the computer to be able to regulate your input; and that's the other half of the problem, receiving understandable input from the computer.

People being visual creatures are going to want direct visual center stimulation instead of just a goggle mounted screen over their eyes.  They're going to need direct auditory center stimulation instead of ear phones (the implanted cortical devices are a step in that direction.)  They're going to want tactile stimulation.  Again, this could be achieved by implant technology; but the holy grail is being able to do without the implants which are expensive, invasive, and have major health concerns associated with them; not to mention being a direct means of hacking into a person via malware.

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