We’re All Cyborgs Now

We're all cyborgs now

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When Elon Musk was talking to Joe Rogan about artificial intelligence, Elon commented that for the human race to survive AI, we would have to merge with technology.

Become cyborgs.

But he said that today, we are already cyborgs… Because essentially our iPhones, etc. are already just extensions of ourselves.

Cyborg Interface and Wearables Challenges

As Apple and other companies continue to expand into the “wearables” market, the design of human/computer interfaces increasingly is defined by the “bandwidth issue”.

Namely, humans cannot interface with computers quickly enough.

To solve this problem, companies like Elon Musk’s “Neuralink” and Apple will seek to improve the speed with which we communicate with computers.

Eventually, Elon opined in the interview, the line where human and technology meet one another will become invisible.

We will become technology.

Let’s assume that it is true that, in the foreseeable future, our thoughts and our iPhones will be directly connected.

In this future, we will be able to:

  • Control our iPhones with only our thoughts
  • Save our thoughts to our iPhones automatically
  • Backup and recall our thoughts, experiences, feelings, identities, etc. to our devices

Already the connection between thoughts and technology is working.

For instance people who are paralyzed or who have lost limbs are able to steer their wheelchairs or direct robotic prosthetic arms using only their thoughts.

The natural evolution of this is that this mind-machine technology follows Moore’s Law, and gets better, faster, cheaper and smaller.

Eventually it makes it onto our phones, or is embedded in a Facebook powered Oculus Rift or new Apple augmented reality headset.

Privacy Implications of Being Cyborgs

The transition to becoming cyborgs has serious privacy implications.

Apple encrypts data on iOS devices and does so in a way that the company cannot access encrypted data for law enforcement.

The company has historically taken a strong privacy stance, from the San Bernadino shooter to other tragedies where police wanted to access a person’s iPhone data. The company released a statement in February 2016 to this extent.

“We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.” – Tim Cook

In doing so, Apple is thinking past the immediate emotional fallout surrounding these tragedies and into the future when we are all cyborgs.

Recently Apple announced it is developing a formal online tool and training process for law enforcement to request iOS device data in legal situations.

But… Would we allow access to a “backdoor” to our minds?

The answer is obvious.

The human mind is and should remain protected and private, whether it is enhanced by technology or not.

Whether Apple ends up losing the battle with the FBI or not… The company is doing the right thing by considering the future privacy rights of individuals who already are becoming cyborgs.