The best blog post I’ve ever read is a gargantuan post called Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future by Tim Urban on the Wait But Why blog.
This article is phenomenal on so many levels.
First, Tim sets the stage by condensing the entire history of the brain and technological advancement into an entertaining few thousand words (complete with stick figure drawings in typical WBW fashion).
Then, he takes an extremely complex subject, the human brain, and makes it accessible for the lay person. No PhD required.
Finally, he proceeds to explain the connection between these two subsections and our magical future in a totally mind-blowing way.
You should be forewarned that this is a LONG blog post.
I literally stayed up half the night reading it because it took me more than three hours. It reads like a book. In fact, it is longer than many books I’ve read. But it was SO worth it.
If you are a futurist nerd like me, this post is a mouth-watering buffet of nonfiction and science fiction where you can’t really differentiate between the two. For a techno-skeptic, it might seem outrageous, perhaps even heretic. For everyone else, it’s just a straight mind bomb.
I’m not really into history or biology, but Tim insisted that in order to fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of what the future holds, we must first grasp the history of neurological and technological advancement and the biology of the human brain (the first half of the article). I obliged and read the entire post from start to end. I’m so glad I didn’t skip the boring stuff because it really does provide the right context for the second half.
The second half of the article is where your mind is blown because you can see clear as day how the sci-fi future is a natural progression from where we’ve been in the past to where we are now.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but just imagine the following for a second.
Imagine a world in which humans no longer speak to each other, but think to each other. Just like communication over the internet, this can happen between two people anywhere in the world.
Imagine an NFL with no brain damage because the players are on the sidelines controlling bionic clones of themselves on the actual field with their minds.
Imagine a world in which obesity no longer exists because people are fed the perfect diet for their genetics and health while thinking they are eating chocolate cake all day.
All of this can be made possible by a technology called a brain machine interface (BMI).
This technology is in its infancy right now, like a horse and carriage was for the transportation industry. But think about a Tesla today compared to a horse and carriage and that’s the equivalent of where we’re heading with BMI.
Speaking of Tesla, the man behind all this is none other than Elon Musk. And that’s why this is all legit. When Elon starts a company, he doesn’t screw around.
Perhaps the most mind-blowing part of all this is the reason why Elon wants to get involved.
He’s not just in it because he thinks it would be cool to walk around with superhuman brainpower (just like he’s not in SpaceX because he thinks it would be cool to fly a rocket to Mars).
Elon is genuinely concerned that this next stage in our advancement could be so powerful that it has the potential to relegate the human species to something like a “house pet” if we don’t take appropriate measures.
Because of the nature of the way artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing, there’s no stopping AI from becoming dominant. In fact, it’s already begun. So the only way to make sure it doesn’t chew us up and spit us out is for us to BECOME it, or to merge ourselves with AI.
I know this is starting to sound like I’m off my meds, but if you read the entire article I promise it will not seem so crazy.
How impactful was this post to me?
Let me just say this: after reading it, I couldn’t look at the human species the same way.
If you’re even slightly interested in any of this (and I honestly can’t fathom how you couldn’t be), then you should go read the article.
Featured image by Wait But Why.
First published on Quora.