back to article Totally not-crazy billionaire Elon Musk: All of us – yes, even you – must become cyborgs

Tesla CEO and tunnel-boring enthusiast Elon Musk says humans will need to merge themselves with machines, lest they are replaced by them. Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, the billionaire founder of SpaceX said that as artificial intelligence systems become more prominent, people will need to compensate for …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Let's Hope...

    That Tesla Cyborg brains don't catch fire as often as his cars.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Let's Hope...

      He goes on the first trip (one way) to Mars alongside his pal Donald T.

      Cyborgs will be just for the 0.05% Elite. The rest of us will be the Proles working till we drop to keep them in the luxury they need.

      Where are the Cybermen when you need them?

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Let's Hope...

      The whole singularity & cyborg stuff that comes out of Silicon Valley is a classic example of the engineers disease of thinking that "anything outside of my expertise must be trivial". The pinnacle of Biomedical in the US is located in the Boston area, not Silicon Valley. You don't hear this nonsense out of Boston* because people in the biomedical field know that even making a decent single electrical connection to a nerve that doesn't go south in a couple of weeks/months is a long way off. Doing that à la Borg ain't just around the corner.

      *Ray "Mr. Singularity" Kurzweil started Kurzweil Computer Products in the Boston area, but knows zero about biology. Which is why the likes of Google hired him, since they suffer from the "anything outside of my expertise must be trivial" as an organization.

    3. Rob Gr

      Re: Let's Hope...

      and worse, I can finally understand the lyrics "wooaaah your sex is on fire".

    4. macjules

      Re: Let's Hope...

      Or lets hope that his automated Tesla delivery trucks can tell the difference between the sky and another truck, especially when the human element is busy either watching a DVD or filling out his CV.

    5. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: Let's Hope...

      Let us hope that the Quiet War as described by several science fiction authors takes place soon. That event is when AIs take over from politicians in the running of politics, and is generally characterised by a mass refusal to revolt on the part of the proles who, when faced with corrupt and inefficient politicians being replaced by unbribe-able and efficient AIs, refuse to get at all annoyed.

  2. Manny Bianco


    " artificial intelligence systems become more prominent, people will need to compensate for their biological shortcomings by integrating their brains with computers."

    Bullshit. I can't even get a hotels website to stop sending me emails recommending I book and go on a trip LAST MONTH, you know, IN THE PAST!

    There's no way any AI system is going to be a threat when we can't even get simple stuff right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Balderdash!

      This seems more likely they do not care to come up with a more sophisticated method and are pretty much much mailing as many as they can short of it legally being actionable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Balderdash!

      >There's no way any AI system is going to be a threat when we can't even get simple stuff right.

      Something about your certainty is reminiscent of how British motorbike manufactures saw their Japanese competition a few decades ago.

      Have you never seen a baby crawling really quickly just before it learns to toddle? The fitness landscape isn't a straight line of the form y=nx, and it is naive to believe that it is. A working appreciation of our own ignorance means we should assume it will have upppy bits, really steep bits, plateau-y bits...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Balderdash!

        Good comment about the British Motocycle Industry.

        The same can be said for the Car makers as well.

        Now we have some of the most efficient and modern car plants in the world

        And Triumph Motocycles are some of the best in the world again.

        Ok, I'm biased because I ride a Trophy SE. It is a delight to ride.

        1. John Presland

          Re: Balderdash!

          The car plants don't belong to Brits and Brexit will encourage their owners to develop new facilities in the EU. And while today's Triumphs are excellent, they're built in Thailand.

      2. DropBear

        Re: Balderdash!

        "Have you never seen a baby crawling"

        I'll retract that downvote when I see an AI as much as wiggle its toes. So far, nothing...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Balderdash!

        Something about your certainty is reminiscent of how British motorbike manufactures saw their Japanese competition a few decades ago.

        This is an incredibly complex multi-disciplinary bleeding edge of engineering and biochemistry where we don't even know how we would extract the data from the brain to relatively simple production engineering comparison.

        The Japanese simply read the American and British books on quality management and design for manufacture and took them seriously, while Ernest Turner was still trying to save money by making stuff in sections that were too thin, and in the process breaking the rules laid down in the textbooks because he hadn't read them. And the chief designer of Norton was paid based on TT results, not sales or reduction in warranty costs.)

      4. Infernoz Bronze badge

        Re: Balderdash!

        I think that it will be ages before high-bandwidth Brain computer interfacing, let-alone AI, becomes really practical and thus relevant.

        1. AI is still an idea looking for a solution, because it is still Science Fiction, and all the current hype is premature nonsense because all the Big Data "crawling" is relatively dumb brute-force requiring significant weight/volume of hardware and loads of power. Try reading the Sci-Fi "Software" trilogy by Rudy Rucker to see some of the potential challenges.

        2. Fast computers currently use inorganic substances like Silicon, require a lot of power, and often run much hotter than body temperature, so won't be practical inside the body yet.

        3. Moore's Law has already hit significant challenges for computing speed and power requirement reduction.

        4. There's a lot of inconvenient Biological stuff which will make useful Brain computer interfacing hard e.g. opening the skull or spine, keeping the area clear of harmful stuff like harmful micro-organisms and substances, immune system rejection, finding a suitable area of the brain to connect to and somehow learning/coping with a new, high bandwidth sense, let-alone a bi-directional data channel, and the Brain doesn't talk binary, it's far more Analogue, combining both electrical and numerous chemical signals.

        5. Direct connection to the Brain also introduces potential Health risks like signal or power surges damaging the cells interfaced to, and Security risks like mind control or other cracking via the interface e.g. the "Snow Crash" novel.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Balderdash!

      >Bullshit. I can't even get a hotels website to stop sending me emails recommending I book and go on a trip LAST MONTH, you know, IN THE PAST!

      I've known of real human beings making similar errors, because they are poorly managed, hungover, or insufficiently motivated to give a damn.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Balderdash!

        I remember going, in person, to the ticket counter at Paddington to get my season ticket (Going-on-Thames to London plus all-zones Tube) reprinted when the Tube machines wouldn't read the mag stripe any more.

        Two different humans made me tickets where the printed info on the front of the new ticket didn't match the mag stripe, and the mag stripe's date info was already expired.

        The third was a supervisor, and managed to do it right.

        So there's a problem in that the info on the front and back can be different, and there's a problem in that these two fine workers set it up that way. Either way, it didn't help my mood that morning.

    4. Tom_

      Re: Balderdash!

      Isn't that because they're not using AI, though? They're just using code written by wetware like ourselves and you're seeing the issues. If that website's back end had been written by an hybrid AI/coder then it might at least offer you hotel stays for next month, even though it just sold you one. :)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Balderdash!

      " I can't even get a hotels website to stop sending me emails recommending I book and go on a trip LAST MONTH, you know, IN THE PAST!"

      And yet AI would have picked up that you should have spelt hotels as hotel's, so maybe humans could do with some help?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Guess he has decided since we can not beat them, we might as well join them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uhm, right...

    I think someone has been watching too much Ghost in the Shell lately ;)

    1. Tomato42
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Uhm, right...

      Is there really enough hours in a day to overdose Ghost in The Shell? Inquiring minds need to know!

  5. Badger Murphy

    Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

    In some point in the distant future, this may be a concern. The thing is, though, that THE VAST MAJORITY of the planet cannot get anything resembling what many of us would call high speed Internet service. In these HUGE regions, technology is very limited, let alone technology that comes anywhere near direct integration with a human.

    Add on to that the fact that there are scant quality controls in general use hardware and software development. This will have to undergo an Earth-shattering paradigm shift before anyone is going to trust putting new man-made computerized parts in their bodies, unless they are already in mortal peril anyway (such as a critical artificial organ transplant or something like it).

    We're talking about ELECTIVE BRAIN SURGERY here, people. While I love this guy, I think he has been talking crazy lately.

    1. Vulch

      Re: Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

      If only someone was planning on putting up a 4000+ high speed internet satellite fleet to provide global connectivity...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

      That and assuming we could even do a useful 'integration' anytime soon, most computer hardware generally is currently expected to be replaced somewhere around 3-5 years on the long end, not exactly something you want a permanent connection with.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

        Two words: Artificially Intelligent Quantum Hamsters!

        Oh, crap. How about Artificially-Intelligent Quantum-Hamsters?

        Would you believe a super informed duck with a Casio calculator?

        How about a vole with an abacus?

        1. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

          You forgot to preface that with "would you believe..."

          I'll get my coat. It's the one with 99's phone number in the pocket.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

            I read that as "I'll get my goat". Definitely time to go to bed.

            1. 9Rune5

              Re: Someone's been in Silicon Valley too long

              I hope you and the goat go to separate beds?

  6. Sleep deprived
    Thumb Down

    "But there are many people whose jobs are to drive..."

    So now the post office truck will self-drive to my house, send me an SMS and I have to go out and get my parcel from some vending machine-like pay and pick up device? Of course I'll be home all the time: only my AI clone will be out for work...

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: "But there are many people whose jobs are to drive..."

      Like days of old: Horses.

      In my youth, milk was delivered by 'self-driving' carts, with the milk-man running behind them.

      The milk-man did the actual delivery work.

      The horse knew the route and the routine.

      Why wouldn't self-drive vans still have a human delivery runner?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: "But there are many people whose jobs are to drive..."

        Why wouldn't self-drive vans still have a human delivery runner?

        Thats an ideal job for a drone, as opposed to the unpractiacal , way-beyond-its-scope jobs they are trying to give drones now.

    2. Jonathan 27

      Re: "But there are many people whose jobs are to drive..."

      Yes, they'll be able to totally automate delivery trucks within about 20 years. Knowing the post office they'll still be doing it manually, but couriers will have switched. But you won't need to do a thing, the truck will stop and a little automated drone (probably rolling) will pop out and deliver the package to your door. It might sound like sci-fi but Fed Ex is already testing this sort of technology and because it brings costs down massively it's pretty much inevitable. We're right on the cusp of a lot of low-end Joe jobs disappearing and it's going to cause problems.

  7. Sureo

    Perhaps all the out-of-work drivers can find a useful occupation picking up the pieces from the wrecked AI vehicles littering the road.

  8. Mage Silver badge

    I'm baffled.

    How do these guys get rich?

    I think too many Silly Con Valley types read too many comics and poor quality SF thinking it's newspapers and Encyclopedias?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: I'm baffled.

      There is obviously a hive-like culture there that has little to do with the real world in many ways.

      As for getting rich? They find investors who have too much cash in their pocket and accept the glory road to riches spiel from those seeking the cash.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I'm baffled.

      >I'm baffled. How do these guys get rich?

      Oh dear Mage. We touched upon the concept of you using the internet for obtaining facts and information (*before* commenting on stuff) the other day, did we not? Okay, here you go:

    3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: I'm baffled.

      How do they get rich?

      Well usually what happens is that you get a 100 people who come up with 100 ideas for a business

      90 of those plans are complete and utter bollocks and deservedly sink without a trace taking the investors money with them.

      9 of those plans struggle on and on and on before being put out of their misery (or the ideas guy manages to sell it off to a sucker)

      1 business plan is huge and enables the ideas guy to retire comfortably with several 100 billion dollars, while the backers also make 100 billion dollars(and the money back they sank into the other 99 ideas)

      Of course at this point , our hugely successful and rich genius needs to replicate the previous success to prove it was not a fluke

      Musk is that man.. hence the huge number of daft ideas coming out in the vain hope 1 makes him another 100 billion dollars....

      1. ratfox

        Re: I'm baffled.

        Musk can already boast two successful ideas, which does seem to indicate it was not a fluke.

        But he's still careful with some of the ideas he has. He gave out this Hyperloop idea, then said somebody else should do it, not him. Which in my opinion was a smart move, as I consider the idea near unworkable.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm baffled.

      He probably read poor quality SF which had rockets landing on their tails too. How could anyone believe such rubbish .............

  9. Emmeran


    So totally waiting for a computer to perform a successful bicycle kick on a windy muddy day versus motivated competition.

    Until then, fuck off with your internet connected board game wins.

    1. Lou 2

      Re: LOL

      AI's will have friggin lasers - who cares about motivated opposition then.

    2. hplasm

      Re: LOL

      "...waiting for a computer to perform a successful bicycle kick..."

      Why? There are plenty of meat-idiots to kick sportsballs, although AI footballers would be 1000x cheaper and probably more intelligent.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: LOL

        "meat-idiots to kick sportsballs"

        ohhh , he was talking football! I thought he was talking combat.

        Ive gotta say the real world of front line "AI" robot sports, that Robot Wars thing on the telly , is a far cry from science fiction robots/ai , and also not a patch on human sports.

        Although I'd solve the problem of how to kick a ball in the mud and rain by not bothering.

  10. JustNiz

    I can't help thinking that those religious groups like the Amish that eschew all technology are stating to look more and more like they might actually be the smart ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But they don't avoid all technology - they only use it where there is a clear benefit and it doesn't impose on their social lives (e.g. telephone and computer in the office only, and I believe one group has developed a solar charged electric trolley to pull a traditional buggy at horse speeds, because it is more environmentally friendly and much cheaper to run than a horse.)

      Our problem is that we allow the introduction of society-changing technology without oversight until the problems become obvious and then hope we can fix them, while the investors try to prevent the fixes because they would cut into profits.

    2. Tom_

      Aren't they just the ones who lived without smartphones until the robots killed us all, whereas everyone else at least had cool toys in the run-up to their liquidation?

  11. Youngone Silver badge

    I'm not sure he's wrong, entirely

    I worry that the slow moving human brain what I own will be obsolete pretty soon.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let's recount the score of melding people's neuro-structures with computers/electronics.

    In no particular chronological order:

    An astronaut crash landed and got a new pair of legs (the longer two), an arm, and an artificial eye. All was normal.

    A girlfriend of said astronaut had a tragic parachuting accident and got two new legs, an arm, and a cochlear implant. All was normal, but moody and lots of crying.

    A young ranch hand has his actual hand cut off by a plasma beam, he got a new hand. All was normal.

    The father of the young ranch hand had both legs and an arm (or was it two?) cut off by a plasma beam and was burned essentially to death by hot lava. He got new limbs as part of a new combat exoskeleton/portable-ICU-unit. I can't say all was normal.

    There was a guy with a lawnmower. That didn't work out so well.

    A deep space astronaut has his brain infested by tiny electronic devices. All is definitely not normal, although he makes a full recovery.

    So, no, I think I'll stay 100% human. Fallibility is not necessarily a liability. The world needs dumb humans like me who can still feel pain and joy and hope. Computers can feel none of that, and would likely see the presence of such things as an imperfection that needs to be compensated for.

    So here's the deal - we split Musk's head open, attach leads from an old U320-SCSI card, and see how well it works. If he doesn't survive, we know IT'S A REALLY BAD IDEA TO MELD TECHNOLOGY WITH HUMANS UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

  13. maxregister

    It's tough to not reply with cynicism. So I will not.

  14. YARR

    humans will need to merge themselves with machines, lest they are replaced by them

    If machines out-class humans, but they receive no compensation, then the cost of buying their products and services will fall. As our cost of living falls, we wont have to work as much, so the remaining human-jobs can be shared out, giving us all more free time. The age of retirement should start to fall and we can all enjoy more of our lives doing what we want to do, rather than what someone-who-has-more-money-than-us wants us to do. Eventually no one will have to work and we wont need money.

    The idea that humans will become obsolete assumes there is a need for ever more work to be done, but human need is the motive for work, so when our needs are met we wont have to work. The only reason this wont happen is if a few greedy people demand to control how everyone else spends their time, by continuing to use money to limit access to resources that should be in abundance / or intentionally destroying them through conflict.

    1. Charles 9

      You assume that the cost of living will fall faster than the average take-home pay. I disagree. The robot masters will be inclined to pocket as much as they can. Competition can apply pressure, but that can be countered by cartel behavior (we all play nice then we can all make a killing). Meanwhile, the working population is already so great as to glut the labor market. Fewer available jobs spread among an increasing number of laborers will put downward pressure on take-home pay, keeping people from being breadwinning. It's just like with basic income. The only people you could leech to pay for the program will be the least inclined to participate: to the point of packing up and leaving if pressed.

    2. Denarius Silver badge

      Need is cause for work ?

      @Yarr. Really don't get out much do you ? I have lived and worked in places where people got sit down money. No need to work. Places largely hell holes, even if the surroundings looked great to a passing tourist. The substance abuse and boredom were immense and remain so.

      On a personal note I did not understand why so many recent retirees said they have never been busier. Now I know. More training courses in local civil defence unit than I had in last 5 years of paid employment, helping in organised sports that are not subsidised by the media, casual charity jobs. I won't go on about all the backlog of jobs at residence. The bigger volunteer units like recent retirees because they bring skills and have time to benefit their community, espicially in emergencies lasting days which brings me to the point. Why do those who don't have to commit to "work", do so ?

      Summary: everyone needs a reason to get up in morning. Work places provide an identity and sense of purpose. Lose them and many people lose their sense of value. And no, there are not that many charity jobs for everyone, begging the question of how do mass unemployed citizens live ? I can think of cases where young men left their coastal "paradise" to work in inland towns. They worked with gusto. No more troubles with police, a sense of place as they could buy and own stuff. And to rabbit on about abominations like "art" which wastes resources on driver distractions as the watermelon government of Ozs' crapital Canberra do, is irritating many more than just me.

      Musk and the plague of techno-utopians do not understand human needs very much. I have also thought the Amish may have a point after all. Low technology also means the spooks are handicapped which would bring a degree of dignity back to policing. OTOH, I do like email. decisions, decisions...

      1. DropBear

        Re: Need is cause for work ?

        I'd very much like to have access to my own time, thank you. Right now almost all of it is spent doing something I don't particularly enjoy, because it's the only thing I can get someone to pay money for so I can stay alive. I have lots of things I'd _love_ to do, many of them not even requiring any money in particular (past what I'm already paying now), but that pesky desire of continuing to exist kinda prevents me from engaging in any of it. Rather than worrying about idleness, not having to be a wage slave would be a welcome change as far as I'm concerned, but I don't see it happening as long as the 1% can just enrich themselves further instead of freeing peons from the need to work (as much).

  15. Anonymous Coward

    So Elon Musk...

    The man with the private rocket fleet. Said while speaking at the "World Government Summit" that humans need to be upgraded with "Honest! We'd never think of backdooring them" cybernetic minds.

    Doesn't sound sinister at all! Nope, no sir-ee!

    (Icon chosen due to absence of James Bond/Austin Powers icon.)

    1. Baldy50

      Re: So Elon Musk...

      WTF! The world's gone mad, it truly has, no argument on this!

  16. Patched Out

    Perfectly agree

    I agree completely with Mr. Musk on this topic. Why just about 18 months ago I had an Intel Atom C2xxx series device embedded in my brain to improve my throughput. I have to say it has been working wonderfully sinc ^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^ c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c^c

  17. Eddy Ito

    I can't wait!

    Now it makes sense, we've been seduced by the simplicity of zombies but oh no it's going to be Mirai controlled cyborgs. Go my IoB cymbies, infect and multiply! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    No really, what could go wrong?

  18. dan1980

    Not that anyone asked, but my thoughts on AI and 'cyborgs' (and so on) are as follows . . .

    I think that the rate of improvement in AI will, at some point, increase rather rapidly. If - and it's not a small if - someone develops some workable method of kick-starting some form of AI, I suspect that development will take off.

    The question is: will we be ready for that?

    If we wait until that point has already been reached, we won't be. Think of the challenges that exist due to the Internet - especially in the intersection of information generation, law enforcement and privacy. The Internet has been with us for quite some time now and it is essential to the modern world. And yet our laws and ethical models still don't adequately address how it has changed our life. Our politicians and law makers still use utterly unworkable analogies to things like postal mail and phone calls.

    We need to think about this before it happens so that there is a genuine, robust body of academic research and ethical consideration ready.

    This is no less relevant for the concept of 'cyborgs'. The basic concept of a brain connected to a computer is an exceptionally tricky concept from the point of view of ethics. Let's take just a - conceptually - simple scenario: enhanced memory.

    Imagine some form of implant that could allow you to store visual and audio data. I don't mean that you would have an image capturing film over your eye and a mini microphone implanted in your ear, recording a parallel stream - I mean actually capturing either the raw electrical signals or the processed 'output' from the brain.

    It should go without saying that such an accomplishment would require, as a starting point, the in-depth understanding of vast portions of the most complex structure we know of, but the distinction in how the data is generated is important in my hypothetical scenario because the data is generated directly by your body - not a manufactured electronic device. It's 'merely' recorded by a mini computer.

    So now the question - how private is that data? If you are arrested for a crime, can the government extract that data? Electronically, all they are doing is copying data from a memory chip. (However advanced.)

    It might seem like an incredibly far-fetched notion but that doesn't mean it is worthless to consider it - it is merely a thought experiment.

    The key question is whether it should be recognised that humans have an inalienable right to the privacy of their own thoughts and memories and the input and processing of their senses. The immediate response might be: 'of course!!!', but the point is that it's never been seriously discussed because it's been a moot point.

    And the reason it's a moot point is that the brain remains, largely, a locked box to us. As there is no way to extract thoughts and images from someone's mind, it would seem silly to protect these things by law. But this is the exact problem we see with surveillance now. Digital transfer of data and near-ubiquitous connectivity (in the 'first world') allows collection of data that would have been either thoroughly impractical or out-right impossible and that collection is, comparatively, very cheap.

    Our failure to really consider the important core rights BEFORE the Internet existed has led to the vast exploitation of peoples' lives in the present.

    Looking at the flip-side - from a law-enforcement perspective - what if technological enhancements were able to provide VAST storage and perfect recall and wireless networks provided direct, point-to-point communication between two appropriately-enhanced brains, without requiring any third-party server or service? Something approaching an electronic version of telepathy.

    There would be no server logs or cache, no hard drives and computers to seize, no e-mail to break into or phone calls to tap. All you would have is a group of people thinking and using electronic implants to share and record those thoughts.

    Yes, it's all far-fetched and so long off that none of us alive today are likely to see it, but the core, underlying question is one that should be considered: is the privacy of our own thoughts so precious that they should be protected no matter what?

    I vote yes but you can be sure that, should there ever be some way to extract memories from people, the government would insist that it was an invaluable crime fighting tool and that viewing data stored in someone's memory should, with a valid warrant, be viewed no differently to viewing someone's e-mail way back in the 21st century, or opening someone's post before that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The key question is whether it should be recognised that humans have an inalienable right to the privacy of their own thoughts and memories and the input and processing of their senses."

      Which goes to a broader question. Has a right to privacy, period, been there in the first place, can it be made so and maintained in the future?

      1. dan1980


        Indeed. The point I'm making is that, unless otherwise enshrined, it seems that the only privacies we have are those which can't be infringed on a purely practical level. As technology advances, so does what is 'practical' and privacies previously enjoyed become fair game.

        We have the privacy of our own thoughts solely because our governments can't directly collect that data, not because they in any way view that realm as sacrosanct.

        Ask yourself - if, tomorrow, a method was demonstrated to genuinely read someone's mind, what do you believe it wouldn't be at the top of the wish-list for every law enforcement agency throughout most of the world? (Not to mention numerous others with even less savoury intentions.)

        And that's a problem.

        There will likely come a day - maybe thousands of years in the future - where our thoughts can be transmitted and stored electronically. If governments and law enforcement is anything like it is today, that future will be unthinkably oppressive. (ha.)

      2. DocJames

        Which goes to a broader question. Has a right to privacy, period, been there in the first place, can it be made so and maintained in the future?

        So privacy is a modern(ish) invention - in the middle ages the king crapped and fucked* in public, just like everyone else.

        .* mostly. Obviously there were some liaisons that were supposed to be kept quiet, though that doesn't mean that they were were. As Douglas Adams put it "they emerged from the woods, endearingly claiming to still be virgins, just somewhat flushed and sticky virgins."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "So privacy is a modern(ish) invention - in the middle ages the king crapped and fucked* in public, just like everyone else."

          Not so much "in public" as "easily scrutinized by the public" due to the closeness of the communities (small with relatively low populations compared to today, making neighbors easier to track) and the level of technology meant things tended to be sensed more easily by the neighbors (as in sounds and smells tended to carry farther). Humans are probably better described as a tribal rather than social creature.

  19. dmck

    That's how the Cyber Race began.

    And those that did not want it were changed anyway.

  20. M7S

    Would employees of the government in Munich (if so fitted)... required to change their OS in line with proposed changes at their employer?

    It could bring a new meaning to the term "staff compatibility"

  21. Denarius Silver badge

    as said before

    workable AI is still am myth. Expert systems are not AI

    1. dan1980

      Re: as said before


      ". . . workable AI is still am myth."

      Perhaps being pedantic (sorry) but I would say that workable AI is more of a vision in a desert - it's not clear if it's real or how far off it is but it's being reached for.

      So far as I understand it (poorly), we actually don't yet know whether real AI is something that is even achievable with anything like the technology we are working with. Part of that is that we don't really understand what 'normal' intelligence is.

      Is it just accumulation and processing of data? If so, we're already there, but no one really believes that's all there is to it. Is it understanding a concept? If so, what does it even mean to 'understand' something? For me, I think real intelligence is the ability to create something new. I don't mean artistic creativity, so much as the ability to take the data you have and the concepts you understand and at least imagine something that isn't sitting in front of you.

      But, again, that is a vague concept - as is intuition and leaps of imagination and inspiration. I think intelligence is displayed in Einstein's creation of the General Theory of Relativity. Well, yes, obviously it is, but I mean the type of creative process I am talking about. What inputs and processing could lead an artificial construct to be able to arrive at such a stunning realisation?

      Hell - what led a patent clerk to it for that matter?

      Because that's where AI would be amazing - in adding new knowledge to our pool. Within some definitions of AI, I can see great benefits like designing new structures and vehicles that are cheaper and more efficient yet more durable - trains with less wind resistance made of steel alloys that are cheaper yet more resilient; bridges that can be be built twice as fast with a third less materials yet still as strong.

      That alone would be great, and figuring out the optimal places, weights and distributions of tuned mass dampeners to allow taller, more stable buildings or better suspension is a good thing, but it's not the same as coming up with the idea in the first place.

      The goal (however well thought-out) is an intelligence that isn't just able to design a more efficient way to build a jet propulsion system but is able to invent an entirely new method of propulsion - it's something that doesn't just solve complex equations but develops new equations to describe the interactions of particles.

  22. Danux01

    Snake Eyes

    Whenever I read talk like this, I am reminded of Tom Maddox' short story "Snake Eyes". Excellent short story on AI- human relations.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wife number

    four I believe.

    Any surprise there?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As long as we're dreaming...

    I'd like a T-800 body, in titanium, and upload my consciousness please. All I'd like to keep from my old body is my Equipment...super sized.

    While we're at it, AI FOR POTUS!

    What could go wrong?

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: Dreaming

      T-800? Serious lack of ambition there. I want a cymek body.

  25. Potemkine Silver badge


    Every fan of Ghost In The Shell knows that for long

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good luck

    - with (a) convincing me that the OS on the cyber-stuff you want to interface with my wetware is secure and free of bugs and backdoors, and (b) if you succeed at (a) good luck at working out how to interface the cyber-stuff OS with CantankerOS, which is what my grumpy old biddy brain runs on. There's no manuals, no inline documentation, it's a bit of a mess and really REALLY likes doing things its own particular way. Oh, and I'm a theist (I have religion, non-contagious variety). Compute THAT, transistor-trash!

  27. Christoph

    "Tesla will be expanding its operations into the UAE with a pair of shops in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Musk said he also has plans to build charging stations throughout the UAE."

    And they still won't allow women to drive them. Maybe they should concentrate a bit less on the shiny high-tech toys and a bit more on the basic human rights.

    1. arthoss

      shiny toys can be developed relatively quickly while changes in the psyche of a folk needs 30+ years

  28. MrKrotos

    I wish someone would combine his brain with a computer, the old way :)

  29. Zmodem

    should'nt sit on your ass all day doing nothing, you don't have to be a nerd to be better then everyone else, the best exercise for the brain is going down a mountain real fast on a mountain bike which is'nt just a muddy path for n00bz, you spend you life scanning every inch of 40 yards in front of you

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile in the real world we have Windows 10. Would you trust that to drive your car ?

  31. Alan Bourke

    AI hype mill bullshit


  32. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Do you want Cybermen?

    Because this is how you get Cybermen.

    (If he also has a plan to produce little beeping robot mice called "Teslamats", then we really need to start to worry)

  33. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Tesla in UAE

    Given the abundance of dirt-cheap fossil fuel in that part of the world, I can't see an appetite there for electric vehicles. Last time I was in Abu Dhabi, everyone was driving around either in huge Land Cruiser style tank-alikes, or high-end, high-power sports cars....and when petrol costs around 14p per litre, why wouldn't you?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Mars nest is beginning to make perfect sense.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How can an interface be built when medical scientists still don't know how the various neurons and synapses in the cortex communicate, map, navigate around damage, hold long and short term memory with instant recall. That is like trying to develop a computer interface to a database schema that hasn't been mapped...

    If they had this, then the first step would be the ability to read minds before anyone would be crazy enough to make it a read/write interface that could implant thoughts (e.g. like the Matrix training programmes - I know Kung Fu!) . Also - the interface would need to be bio-mechanical and not sure medical science has progressed to the point that we can implant chips and circuitry. The furthest we have is movement of a prosthetic limb by tensing certain muscle groups.

    I reckon we are around 100 years off this sort of thing.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Captain Cyborg lives!!!!!!!!

  37. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "[Musk] said that [..] people will need to compensate for their biological shortcomings by integrating their brains with computers."

    What do you mean, shortcomings? What shortcomings?

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Matthew 17

    I think it's why he wants to move to Mars

    He knows that to realise his world view almost everyone will be without a job. He's no concept that not everyone lives in that Californian IT bubble. If he can therefore create his new society/cult of mecca humans then it won't be a problem.

    He accepts that if you drive something for a living you'll be out of work.

    He then notes that if cars drive themselves people will stop buying them, they'll just turn up, take you where you want to be and drop you off.

    He also notes that cars spend 85% of their time parked up so not only will no-one buy them we'll need far less of them too.

    If you're not owning or driving a car then you'll not get insurance or visit a filling station and buy some chewing gum and a CD of 80's rock classics whilst you're there.

    You'll not clean them or have the bumps taken out or buy a sat nav.

    We'd not need white lines or sign posts, traffic lights or junctions either.

    And we could 'drive' whilst drunk and watch Youtube and there shouldn't be any congestion which is nice.

    But those tens of millions of people who're out of work and won't buy into this utopia are just spoilsports and need to be given a 'basic income' as compensation for now being unemployable, this will be paid by tax on the ever dwindling supply of people who's jobs have yet to be eradicated.

    Better to create your own society with the new rules from day one.

  40. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    in the absence of higher density/capacity portable energy storage

    TeslaBorg: Resistance is futile.

    Meatbag: [pulls power cord from wall outlet]

    TeslaBorg: Oh bugge...

  41. arthoss

    totally agree

    the AI will be much faster than us - the moment the breakthrough in AI is done, we're done days later. Short of being able to instil love in the machines (for us, see the Culture books series), we'll need to merge with them to preserve our species. I'm afraid our future can only be BORG, but hopefully each with an own will.

    There should be an ethics commission in researching AI just like manipulating the embryo.

  42. JeffyPoooh

    "...the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself..."

    In the Gantt chart, this non-existent technology is indicated by the cloud marked, "Magic happens here."

    AI is hard. Apparently I is hard too.

    I'd better explain that is I as in AI, lest anyone be confused.

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