Is language a form of telepathy

Elon Musk wants direct access to the brain and promises telepathy

Brains are supposed to communicate thoughts and images directly via brain-machine interfaces; speech is too slow and compressed because of its "incredibly low data rate"

It seems like a race has broken out among the digital oligarchs to see who can penetrate the brains first and exploit the resources that are still trapped there. Facebook had just announced that it wanted to develop a brain-computer interface so that people could finally write directly without any other interface. Then thoughts could flow directly from the tapped brains into Facebook, become content and the people freed from any restraint could be controlled even better.

Yesterday, Elon Musk, another billionaire, confirmed the founding of the new company Neualink Corp., with which he wants to connect computers to people's brains in such a way that they can operate "consensual telepathy". Is that how the idea of ​​the "global brain" from the 1990s is returning as a technical project? Musk wants to run the company himself, along with Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies.

It was already known that Neuralink initially wanted to implant electrodes in the brain in order to fight diseases. But that's only supposed to be the entrance door to later connect the brains to intelligent machines, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Now Musk has announced that he, like Facebook, wants to develop brain-machine interfaces that can replace human language. Somehow it seems to prevail among the IT billionaires that not only annoying writing or typing, but also speaking and listening is an annoying activity.

What bothers Musk most of all is that language is a bottleneck that narrows the bandwidth of prelinguistic thoughts in the head to an "incredibly low data rate": "That is what language is, the brain has a compression algorithm when thinking, when transmitting concepts , executed. " So everything should flow out of the brain quickly and unchecked in order to fill Musk's data memory. But he is quite prophetic and as a savior, because then people could carry out an "unfiltered direct thought communication" with other people.

Do we really want to be flooded unfiltered by all the half-baked thoughts and images of other people? Haven't we already had enough of it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Co., where work is already being done to select and regulate the flood of data?

Apparently the billionaire does not ask himself at all whether that would really be so nice and whether people want it, but also how the raw data of the pre-linguistic thoughts can be transformed in such a way that they are understandable for others, so it would only be a form of language replaced by another. Perhaps Musk is thinking more simply when he says that you can then "beam a picture into other people's heads instead of trying to describe the picture with words". It seems as if he is assuming that pre-linguistic thinking takes place in pictures, but forgets that pictures are not raw materials either, but rather neural products.

For now, however, he wants to stick to the plan to develop the basis for brain-machine interfaces for the treatment of serious illnesses or damage such as memory problems, paralysis, the consequences of strokes or tumors. In four years' time he wants to bring the technology to market, in 8-10 years the technology should also be available for healthy people when the clinical tests and approval have been completed.

Musk, like others, has warned of artificial intelligence that could overtake humans. For him, however, it is not about setting limits to technical development, but rather optimizing people with new interfaces by making them compatible with AI. (Florian Rötzer)

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