Elon Musk says humans may need to merge with AI to stay useful

Elon Musk has had quite a bit to say about artificial intelligence over past years, and he's not done yet. Speaking today at the World Government Summit held in Dubai, Musk said that humans must learn to merge with machines in the future to address some big potential issues surrounding the rise of artificial intelligence. Among other things, the proliferation of machine intelligence that outpaces human intelligence may result in a 'usefulness problem,' not to mention concerns about whether humans will remain in control in the future.

Artificial intelligence holds a lot of promise in many areas, but has long been a source of worry among humans who fear being made obsolete. Musk touch on that concern during his speech, indicating that humans will need to in some ways merge with machine intelligence, something that may enable us to both remain in control of humanity's creation and remain relevant and useful when the human mind is no longer the greatest thing around.

How humans could merge with machines is less clear. "Over time," Musk said, "I think we will probably see a closer merger of 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."

Humans are at risk of feeling (being?) useless in the future, but that may be mitigated by harnessing the speed and raw power of machine intelligence and utilizing it as part of one's human existence. "Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence...," Musk went on to explain, indicating this could help address issues of both usefulness and control.