- Elon Musk is the CEO of three companies: Tesla, Neuralink, and SpaceX. The second of those three, Neuralink, is focused on creating human-computer interfaces to connect artificial intelligence with the human mind and body.
- Musk is focused on human-computer interfaces because he’s worried about the human race getting left behind as AI gets better and better.
- One major problem Musk pointed to in a talk on AI this week in Shanghai: Humans communicate data far, far more slowly than computers. “Human speech to a computer will sound like very slow tonal wheezing, kind of like whale sounds,” he said.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There are major language barriers between human beings and computers.
For one, humans communicate with language and text and images — all inputs that are inherently slower at communicating information than straight-up data.
But also, crucially, computers perceive time differently than humans. That’s because of their ability to process data at a far higher speed than humans can.
To a computer, “a millisecond is an eternity, but to us it’s nothing,” Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, said in a wide-ranging conversation about AI in Shanghai this week.
“Human speech to a computer will sound like very slow tonal wheezing, kind of like whale sounds. Because what’s our bandwidth — a few hundred bits per second, basically, maybe a few kilobits per second if you’re going to be generous?”
In so many words, Musk is saying that human forms of communication — speech, gestures, etc. — are built for communicating with other humans. When those inputs are applied to “speaking” to a computer, they become woefully inadequate.
Computers, however, can communicate data far, far more quickly — “at a terabyte level,” Musk said.
And that communication difference could be a major issue for future AI-human relations, to the point where it would be similar to a tree trying to communicate with a human.
“The computer will just get impatient, if nothing else,” Musk said. “It will be like talking to a tree — that’s humans.”