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Artificial Intelligence Could Hijack Brain-Computer Interfaces and Take Control of Our Minds

Brain-computer interfaces (BCI), such as those being developed by Elon Musk’s Neuralink startup, risk being hijacked by a rogue artificial intelligence, experts have warned—meaning a person’s thoughts, decisions and emotions could be manipulated against their will by AI.

The warning comes in a comment piece in the scientific journal Nature this week written by 27 neuroscientists, ethicists and machine intelligence engineers.

The researchers use the hypothetical example of a paralysed man participating in a brain-computer interface trial who doesn’t like the research team working with him. Artificial intelligence reading his thoughts could take his dislike as a command to harm the researchers, despite no direct command being given by the paralysed man.

The researchers write: “Technological developments mean that we are on a path to a world in which it will be possible to decode people’s mental processes and directly manipulate the brain mechanisms underlying their intentions, emotions and decisions; where individuals can communicate with others simply by thinking; and where powerful computational systems linked directly to people’s brains facilitate their interactions with the world such that their mental and physical abilities are greatly enhanced.”

 

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