In the world of technology, there are hardly any names that are as respected and as controversial as Elon Musk. The 45-year-old billionaire and future enthusiast has never been afraid of putting his ideas on the table, no matter how farfetched. His latest vision of the future is one where humans have merged with machines and drive fully autonomous vehicles.
According to CNBC, the Tesla and Space X CEO went on the record earlier this week to say that humans will need to somehow merge with machines in order to stay relevant in the world where artificial intelligence continues to develop. Musk explained that over time, there is likely to be a merger between biological intelligence and digital intelligence. “It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself particularly output,” he said.
He went on to explain that the human mind is, in terms of speed, much slower than machines. He confirmed that computers can communicate at a rate of one trillion bits per second, while humans are only capable of about 10 bits per second - particularly because the main means of communication is manual typing. With these numbers, Musk argued that AI might make it so that humans are no longer irrelevant.
Musk then explained exactly how humans can stay relevant despite the prevalence of artificial intelligence. According to him, some high levels of bandwidth interface to the brain can help create an interdependence between human and machine intelligence. He finished by saying this type of technology can solve human inefficiency in the future.
The tech exec also touched on the real danger of deep AI, which could reach a point which he called "artificial general intelligence." He described this as the point when AI is already smarter than any human on earth. Naturally, the idea is a dangerous one and Musk did claim that it is far off into the future but is nevertheless a possibility.
The most imminent fear that Musk has, however, is that autonomous driving, which his own company develops, will lead to loss of jobs. He understands that millions of people might lose their jobs over autonomous driving. The solution, he said, is to find new roles for these individuals because a fully autonomous future is quickly becoming a reality.
"I think we will see autonomy and artificial intelligence advance tremendously," Business Insider quoted Musk. He then went on to say that in as short as 10 years, it might be unusual for manual cars to be part of the road. Tesla's current sensor system can already be used for a fully autonomous vehicle and that it has plans to drive a unit across the United States completely in its self-driving mode.
With other auto manufacturers roughly sharing the same timeline and already working or releasing their own take on autonomous driving, Musk's estimate is not off the bat. Within the next decade or so, autonomous cars might rule the road. Forget built-in GPA systems and automatic transmissions, a self-driving feature will be the standard of vehicles soon enough.