Recent claims from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and Facebook executive, Regina Dugan, regarding their future plans for brain-scanning research have already been challenged by neuroscientists, who claim that these plans are far-fetched and unrealistic. However, sweeping statements of the kind and claims that have aggressive timelines related to transformative tech are no new thing for silicon valley.
Most claims and promises that come from Silicon Valley/all tech companies revolve around making the world a better place to live. What’s new about these particular claims put forward by Dugan and Musk is the downbeat and potentially realistic driving force behind them. Dugan and Musk have both argued that the negative effects of tech being currently created in other industries will lead humans to rely on mind reading systems, i.e. “ the human race may need telepathy to help it survive the dystopian future that Silicon Valley itself is helping to create.”
For example, Musk has recently said that the logic behind his company Neutral ink is to allow people to communicate via small implements without any words.
His belief is that humans who have the capability to communicate as fast as a computer via implants will ultimately have a better chance of survival in a future that is dominated by super-intelligent machines as opposed to humans without enhancements.
In a recent tweet Musk solidified his views, saying “that's the aspiration, to avoid artificial intelligence becoming [the] other"
Dugan, on the other hand, has regularly communicated her wariness with regards to the effects that social networks, such as facebook, have bestowed on society. Her most notable mention of this was during the recent F8 conference during which she addressed Facebook developers in her keynote speech. Dugan stated that “while technology has allowed us to connect to people a world away, it's come at the cost of disconnecting with those closest to us."
This type of self-reflection is new to Silicon Valley and the industry as a whole, for some who fear the impact of technology this reflection helps to provide comfort. Ultimately, it will be interesting to monitor these kinds of technologies that are currently being developed.