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Elon Musk says plan to merge humans with machines is aimed at stopping a ‘Terminator’-style scenario

  • Responding to a Twitter user, Elon Musk says the "aspiration" behind Neuralink is to create a "counter for Skynet".
  • Neuralink is Musk's plan to merge human brains with machines.

Billionaire Elon Musk said on Sunday his motive for Neuralink – the company he founded to link the human brain with a machine interface – is to avoid artificial intelligence (AI) "becoming other".

A Twitter user asked the Tesla and SpaceX CEO whether his new firm was a "counter for Skynet", to which Musk replied that it was the "aspiration" behind Neuralink.

Skynet is a fictional self-aware AI system in the "Terminator" movies that saw humans as a threat and sought to wipe them out.

Last week, Musk outlined his plans for Neuralink in an interview with website Wait But Why. The company plans to make "micron-sized devices" to achieve his goal of human-machine interfaces. Human speech is essentially a compressed version of the thoughts running through your head. Musk's plan would allow humans to communicate their direct thoughts with each other.

"If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy. You wouldn't need to verbalize unless you want to add a little flair to the conversation or something … But the conversation would be conceptual interaction on a level that's difficult to conceive of right now," Musk told Wait But Why.

Billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., listens during the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.
Justin Chin | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., listens during the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.

The tech entrepreneur has on several occasions warned of the threat that AI could pose to humanity. In February, Musk hinted at his plans for Neuralink, saying that humans would need to merge with machines or risk becoming irrelevant.

"Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence," Musk told an audience at the World Government Summit in Dubai.