Should We “Merge” With Robots to Become “Cyborgs”?

Elon Musk recently remarked about a future in which humans must, to use his word, “merge” with robots in order to have a competitive advantage. These human-robots would be some sort of “cyborg” (to use his word).

We asked our community via our newsletter whether they agree with Musk and think that we should be merging humans and robots to create what he referred to as “cyborgs”? We got a great turn out and heard many very intriguing opinions. So far, we heard that 55% thought we should be merging with robots, 20% thought that it depends, and 25% thought we shouldn’t. If you hadn’t already, please fill out the survey yourself.

Some highlights from each response include:

Yes

-“We are already robots. Just watch people walking around with their eyes transfixed on their control screens, I mean phones.”

-“You could imagine that a human in a car is a human merged with a robot.”

No

-“A mind connected to machines means a mind connected to the internet – we will all have instant, telepathic access to the entirety of human knowledge. A mind connected to a completely free and open internet can communicate beyond language and instantaneously, effectively making us telepathic in our communication. Telepathic instantaneous communication destroys any barriers between minds, effectively making us one mind. This will destroy anything that makes us individual and human. However, what I feel is more likely is that our minds will be connected to an internet that is subject to some form of control or censorship. Our paths of communication will be controlled by the powers that be and in turn our ideas leading to complete mind control. A mind connected to a machine becomes a tool of the machine and in turn a tool of whoever or whatever controls the machine (be that an AI, a collective mind, or a higher mind).”

-“We must stay in control of the computers , AI and robots – already people whose work relies a lot on computers are losing their ability to judge & apply common sense solutions – just look at Customer Services … down that path lies disaster. But used well AI can do wonders. God introduced AI via human progression in much the same way as we are tested with alcohol & drugs – used wisely & with control they can help .. used randomly & in excess to fix problems they bite back.”

It Depends

-“Humans controlling robots is one way of “merging” with robots. Physical-biological interface is not necessary, but may be “better” for the individual, so an ethical question of whether to allow it without restrictions.”

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3 Comments
  1. Paul 2 months ago

    I think this post is asking the wrong question.

    In a recent video interview he actually said that we are already cyborgs. We store our emails, images and social interactions on the internet. Meaning, part of our memory is stored on machines – we are therefore cyborgs.

    If you accept this, then the issue is one of bandwidth where two fingers tapping on a keyboard is devilishly slow. We have much higher input bandwidth via our visual processing mechanisms. The question then becomes how do we redress this balance on the output side. Musk suggests the way forward could be synaptic lace.

    The ideas of control, telepathy and barriers between minds is a separate issue and will need be to addressed and thought through. Musk’s main argument revolves around how we as humans will be able resist a centralized AI. Power in one place under the control of a few could lead to tyranny, whereas human cyborgs would act as decentralised power and in his view offer hope by counterbalancing the power of the few.

    The real question you should be asking is this. If the generalized AI singularity is going to happen, what can we do about it? Musk simply suggests that Cyborgs are one way to go. Anyone got a better idea?

    • Author
      Matthew 2 months ago

      Hey Paul,

      Great response. Thanks for elaborating on Musk’s comments.

  2. Morgane 4 weeks ago

    GREAT response Paul

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