We’ve long thought of cyborgs — that is, human beings that are part biological and part mechanical — as science-fiction tropes that are a long way from becoming a reality. However, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk thinks that cyborgs are already here, whether we realize it or not. What’s more, he says we’re going to have to upgrade our hardware very soon or risk becoming obsolete.
During a talk with tech journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference 2016 this week, Musk made the case that human beings are already cyborgs who have “super powers” that weren’t imaginable a generation ago.
“You have a digital version of yourself, a partial version of yourself online in the form of your emails, your social media, and all the things that you do,” Musk explained. “You have more power than the president of the United States had 20 years ago. You can answer any question, you can video conference with anyone, anywhere. You can send messages to millions of people instantly. Just do incredible things.”
That said, Musk doesn’t think this is the end of our evolution into humanoid robots. Instead, he believes that we’ll one day be implanted with something he calls a “neural lace” that will act as an interface between our brains and artificial intelligence. He thinks that we will have to do this in order to avoid being overtaken by more intelligent robots that will quickly turn us into their “pets.”
“If you assume any rate of advancement in AI, we’ll be left behind,” he says. “We would be so far below them in intelligence that we would be like a pet. Like a house cat.”
Musk also talked at length about the possibility that we humans are also just simulations who are living inside of a video game created by a more advanced civilization… because, you know, things just had to get even weirder than humans transforming into cyborgs.
Check out the full videos below.