Some of the nodes of Superintelligence will be Transhumans, sometimes called cyborgs. These will be humans who will have their brain connected wirelessly to Superintelligence, and possibly, but not necessarily, also have some mechanical body parts (like exoskeletons, artificial heart and other organs). They will be like any other node connected to such a giant network with its immense memory, processing and decision-making capabilities.
If you find this incredible, then just think about yourself. Most of us are already partly Transhumans. Our smart phones give us enormous extra intelligence, that we could not dream about even 10 years ago. The only difference is that the extra intelligence is currently external. However, there are already thousands of people world-wide that have small implants in their brain that allow them access to some information or open password-protected doors. The most recent example from October 2019 is of a completely paralyzed person wearing an exoskeleton, who started to ‘walk’ using the implants in his brain. The scale of this achievement overshadows anything that has been done in this area so far and opens new possibilities for brain implants. Furthermore, in February 2020, Musk’s company Neuralink announced it is building tiny and flexible ‘threads’ which are ten times thinner than a human hair and can be inserted directly into the brain. They intent to have first human implants ready by the end of 2020.
The implications of such developments for Humanity could be immensely positive but also might have potentially a terrifying, negative effect on the future of the human species. In a positive sense, and that’s what Elon Musk focuses on right now, is curing partially or even totally some mental and brain-related disabilities, such as moto-neuron disease, Alzheimer, or audio-visual impairments. What he is not saying yet, is that there will be nothing to stop these implants to be progressively used to expand human brain capabilities beyond the wildest dreams of AI developers even a few years ago. Most AI specialists expected such developments earliest in the 2030 or 2040. It looks now almost certain we shall have them by about 2025.
Such early Transhumans may already be many times more intelligent and faster in decision-making than the most intelligent purely biological human beings. With immediate access to the entire Google repository they might be able to resolve many problems faster than any current computer by simply having an additional advantage over a purely digital computer – being a conscious entity with a general knowledge, which most advanced AI system will not be able to have for another few decades. They will be able to use this advantage for the benefit of the human kind and for devising ways of reigning-in purely digital AI and keeping it under human control. However, it all depends on their ethics and their own personal goals. Such people will have immense power and as Sir John Dalberg-Acton said in the mid of 19th century, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It looks that some states, UN, EU, or other existing global legal powers, may have to find very quickly a working solution to this problem, although my feeling is that it will be extremely difficult. Even if we have an international law banning such brain enhancements for achieving superhuman intelligence in this way, it will happen because people with money, power and influence, as well as access to this technology (first of all those developing it) may get such implants anyway. And how about autocratic state leaders?
If we think about benevolent Transhumans, such as potentially Elon Musk, for whom saving Humanity is his absolute top goal, we may have no other option but to trust them and use their, soon to come, immense intellectual power and ultra-fast decision-making for the benefit of Humanity. Ideally, however, as soon as such implants become available, they should only be dispensed by an international licencing authority, which would also monitor their continuous use (that would mean a severe restriction of privacy of such people).
Apart from an international licencing programme such implants might be available for the leaders of international organisations, such as EU, UN, International Court of Justice and of course some top scientists. They might be licenced for a specific duration, e.g. for the time of being in the office, and digitally disabled once they leave the office.
On the other hand, the good news is that this could be our best hope of retaining the control over Superintelligence for much longer, even when it matures. The early Transhumans who may emerge this decade will be a kind of guinea pigs that will give us experience in retaining the ultimate control over Superintelligence. This could be done in the period leading to the Novacene era after 2050, where the leaders of the Human Federation, the President, Vice-Presidents and all the World Government ministers will all be working as a Transhumans team, where most decisions are carried out by such a team based on 2/3 majority. It is this team that would have the ultimate control over Superintelligence, being part of it. We may call them the World Governors. Once their term in the office elapses or is curtailed for some other reasons, they will be called off by the Human Federation and their brain extension implant will be disconnected from Superintelligence.