Humans should become cyborgs, says billionaire Elon Musk

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Elon Musk with the SpaceX Dragon capsule in April 2012. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

“Elon Musk” sounds like cheap cologne, but it’s actually the name of a billionaire CEO who says people should become cyborgs to remain useful.

Since this article is mostly read by humans, many who haven’t even watched every episode of Star Trek, I feel compelled to explain cyborgs.

According to George Lucas and other experts, cyborgs are a blend of robots and people — humans fused with computerized and mechanical parts. Think Darth Vader in Star Wars or Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man.

Vader and Austin both received high-tech body gizmos after suffering crippling injuries.

Their employers loved it.

Musk, the genius employer behind Tesla motors, SpaceX and various other expensive things a slow-brained creature such as myself can’t afford, suggests even perfectly capable humans will need computerized accessories to retain value in the workplace.

“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk said at the World Government Summit in Dubai, where he launched Tesla in the United Arab Emirates. “It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”

Computers can communicate at “a trillion bits per second” while clumsy fingers max out at 10 bits per second on a mobile keyboard, said Musk via the antiquated analog form of communication known as human speech.

In an age when artificial intelligence threatens to become widespread, humans would be useless, so there’s a need to merge with machines, CNBC paraphrased.

“Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem,” Musk said.

Translation: You’re going to need a chip in your head to receive further instructions (and paychecks).

The first people who’ll fully merge with machines may be those who drive for a living. Musk says fully autonomous vehicles will be everywhere soon. He estimates an additional 15 percent of humanity will be unemployed once Uber and Amazon deliveries are handled by robots.

Will consumers jump on the cyborg bandwagon? Adoption may be slow until women start to think it is sexy. Then every man could look like C-3PO overnight.

Some people want to be guinea pigs. When the Mars One project asked for people willing to take a one-way trip to the red planet, 78,000 people signed up in just two weeks.

Musk, whose ideas are bigger than even his wallet, wants to colonize Mars too. He says people must be “prepared to die” for the “incredible adventure.” Volunteers may also need to pay for the ride. If a million people pay the ticket price will be around $200,000.

There will be pizza, Musk promises.

People may pay to become cyborgs, but I doubt anyone is going to cash out their 401(k) to live in a place without beaches.

If I’m wrong I have a spare 56K modem someone can implant somewhere right now.


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