A Future with Cyborgs: Will Judgment Day Be Reality or Fiction?

Thomas Carlon

In an era where technology is becoming exponentially more complex and sophisticated, and quickly surpassing human skill, humans may not be able to maintain their superiority over technology and artificial intelligence (“AI”). Is it possible to witness the creation of artificial intelligence and the rise of cyborgs in our generation? Elon Musk believes it is possible.

During the World Government Summit in Dubai, Musk discussed the importance of integrating human brains with “biological and digital intelligence”;[1] because, humans are limited by their typing speed and their ability to process information at a finite speed.[2] However, when humans are compared to computers, computers can process and transmit information at a “trillion bits per second.”[3] By creating this “neural lace” it allows humans to remain relevant in an ever expanding area, and be able to become more intelligent than humans could possibly imagine. Thus, it is clear to see the importance of synchronizing human brains with a computer interface. But, at what cost to create this symbiosis?

In our lifetime we have already seen an explosion of AI and enhanced technology. Further, the notion of Terminator, or I, Robot is quickly becoming reality as technology advances. This is supported by an AI, ironically named “Android Dick,” who has the capability of answering complex questions. If Android Dick was asked a question which it has never been tasked with answering before, it uses an algorithm to analyze and attempt to answer it correctly.[4] Moreover, what makes the rise of AI technology frightful is the robots ability to adapt quickly and become more cognizant of its surroundings. This is supported by Android Dick’s surprising answer, where it wanted to “. . .keep [humans] warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for ol’ times sake.”[5] A dreadful forethought to AI and cyborgs abilities, if this technology advances too quickly for humans to be able to control it.

What does this mean for humans and the inevitably for cyborg creation, Professor Maciej Henneberg and Dr. Aurther Saniotis, who are members of the Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit in the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine weigh in on the issue. Professor Henneberg and Dr. Saniotis believe that humans will continue to meld human organic material with technology, but they caution such enhancement due to humans’ highly complex biology.[6] Moreover, Henneberg and Saniotis note that humans have the potential to integrate “cybernetic implants that could connect [humans] brains to computers, to nanotechnology, and a variety of medical prosthetics.”[7] However, Saniotis mentions that even though such technology has been blurred, such as eyeglasses to bionic ears, and this technology will continue to advance in the coming years.[8] And, it is easy to visualize the human body as a “machine with parts that need replacing,” the human brain is a complex organ – a product that should not be underestimated.[9]

It is difficult to ascertain where humans will be in 10, 20 or even 50 years. No matter how “interesting” it might be to witness the evolution of AI and cyborg technology, humans should be cautious to not underestimate our own curiosity. After all, curiosity did kill the cat.

 

[1] Kacey Deamer, Cyborg Future? Elon Musk’s Plan to Compete with AI, LiveScience, February 13, 2017 2:50pm, http://www.livescience.com/57871-elon-musk-humans-must-merge-with-machines.html.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Alanna Ketler, AI Robot Learns Words in Real time & Tells Human Creators It Will Keep Them in A “People Zoo”, Collective Evolution, September 2, 2015, http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/09/02/ai-robot-learns-words-in-real-time-tells-human-creators-it-will-keep-them-in-a-people-zoo/.

[5] Id.

[6] David Ellis, Cyborgs closer to reality in future stages of human evolution, Phys.org, May 27, 2016, https://phys.org/news/2016-05-cyborgs-closer-reality-future-stages.html.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.