I understand your dislike of Musk, however, I think you are not right in your point about your second paragraph.
(now this is what I think about the project, not necessarily what it will be in reality). This technology will be first used on people with disabilities, who will be more okay with trying new, invasive technology because of the possible benefits. As it will become more tested, improved and generally safer and more accepted (the notion of cybers becoming more usual), more people will try it for other benefits - extremely powerful digital personal assistant, possibly augmentations to memory, cognitive functions (I don't want to say improvements, because I expect it to be more of a "outsourcing" of some brain-work, collaboration between brain and computer), maybe even some kind of brain-to-brain communication.
I think this is the path we are on as it is.
And Musk is saying it out loud (actually, he believes it's the way to keep us from becoming obsolete because of AI) - as he is in his different endeavours.
Take SpaceX for example. From the start, he stated he wants to colonize Mars. But he has a plan how to get there, plan that goes through more "normal" phases - making cheap rockets, getting people to ISS,...
It will (I expect) the same with Neuralink - he must make it working business solution, so he will aim it first where it will get broad adoption (helping with disabilities), but that's not his goal, as he clearly states.
I'm not saying if it a right thing to do, I'm not saying Elon Musk is a good person (and for sure he had some weird and disturbing moments), but I believe he puts his money where his mind is and he is not shy about his goals.
He's smart and for sure he has a vision, but what if a device like this REALLY gives the wearer super powers? Then it has the potential to create a sort of uber human, a super race or something ... the choice might then be to either adopt this thing, or become a second rank citizen.
But, I agree that AI and robots might be (will be) coming and are going to pose difficult questions, whether we like it or not - will a large part of humanity become redundant, with most jobs being replaced by AI and robots? It may become inevitable to think about these things.
On the other hand, if we fail to solve the climate crisis then the whole point may be moot - we might not live to see the day when AI and robots become a problem (in other words, which of these two problems, and many others, is more urgent).
Well at least the good thing about Musk is his innovations make us think about some difficult questions.
Yeah, I agree with you - I'm not sure about this being a good thing either and for sure there are many risks involved (enormous split between rich and poor, possibility to invade person thought, manipulation..). We need some regulations regarding this kind of technology, the same way as we need to regulate AI development (as Musk, maybe, tries to do with OpenAI).
Your climate crisis point is also valid, and Musk is working on it as well (with speeding up the transition to electric transportation and renewable energy generation and storage). He's sorta megalomaniac, so he's working on this, also getting people to "backup planet", and also preparing for (possible) future with AGI.
Maybe he ought to work more on the climate crisis, but on the other hand, he's more of a visionary and saving us from environmental disaster is now (or I believe so) more of political and societal change, for which others are more suited.
Yeah, I'm always curious about what new technology he will come with. Always fun to see his moon-shot outlandish ideas (which are then, years later than he proclaimed) at least partly realized.
I'm staying away from his Twitter account though.
(and hey, thanks for the very pleasant exchange of thoughts on this topic! I really love dev.to community <3 )
Hey man, yes I agree, dev.to is an awesome community, thanks too for the interesting discussion ... and I'm in no way meaning to denigrate Musk's achievements, which are impressive - with Tesla and its battery technology he's also leading the way in the green revolution, electric cars are a big part of that.
The only problem with Musk is that he has unrealistic expectations about technology being the holy grail and the solution to any problem in society ... I stopped believing that long ago, I think technology can be part of the solution, but only when used right, if not then it's causing more problems than it solves.
In the end it's all about the choices we make, technology is only a means to an end.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.