Elon Musk estimated during an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast that humans would communicate nonverbally within the next 5 to 10 years. During the interview, Musk discussed a range of topics from brain implant devices to his issues with home privacy. But his take on humans' ability to communicate nonverbally in the next 10 years surprised Rogan.
"One day in the future there's going to come a time where you can read each other's minds and you'll be able to interface with each other in some sort of a nonverbal, non-physical way where you will transfer data back and forth to each other without having to actually use your mouth?" Rogan asked Musk. "Yeah," Musk said. "Exactly." But Musk isn't just talking about texting, Snap chatting, or emailing; Musk sees a system of symbiosis between people and Artificial Intelligence that would allow an exchange of ideas between other people without the use of words.
"Our brain spends a lot of effort compressing a complex concept into words and there's a lot of loss of information that occurs when compressing a complex concept into words," Musk said. "And then you say those words, those words are then interpreted, then they're decompressed by the person who is listening." But Musk envisions humans integrating with machines more seamlessly in order to make communication faster and more accurate. "It's very difficult to convey a complex concept with precision because you've got compression and decompression," Musk said. "You may not even have heard all the words correctly. And so communication is difficult."
That's why Musk sees nonverbal communication as an opportunity for people to communicate better with one another and thinks humans are already on a path toward nonverbal interfacing. "We're already a cyborg to some degree, right?" Musk said. "Cause you've got your phone, you've got your laptop, you've got your electronic devices. Today if you don't bring your phone along, it's like you have missing limb syndrome. It feels like something's really, really missing." Musk's company Neuralink is working on a brain implant that could interface directly with a patient's brain to treat brain injury and trauma. It could potentially be ready to be put inside a patient's head within a year. Musk said non-verbal communication technology wouldn't be as immediate but could appear in the next 5 to 10 years. "Don't worry [about] that, it's not going to sneak up on you," Musk said. "This will take a while." Musk has been overly optimistic when it comes to Tesla's deadlines for new technology and previously predicted Teslas would be able to drive owners from their home to their office without human intervention by the end of 2019. The technology is still yet to fully emerge.