Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted a captivating and honestly unsettling theory on his Twitter account about how a brain parasite might be pushing all humans to create advanced AI.
According to Elon, “Toxoplasmosis infects rats, then cats, then humans who make cat videos. AI trains achieves superhuman intelligence training on Internet cat videos, thus making toxoplasmosis the true arbiter of our destiny.”
The tweet was actually a reply to a National Geographic post that revealed that “scientists found hyena cubs infected with toxoplasmosis are more likely to approach—and get killed by—lions than their uninfected peers.”
Is it just another mind-baffling tweet from the billionaire, or there’s some truth to it?
Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that is typically transmitted through raw meat carrying T. gondii cysts or water containing oocysts from feline faeces, also known as cat poo. Around the world, more than two billion people are considered to be afflicted by this brain parasite, and approximately 40 to 60 million people in the United States alone have been plagued.
In animals, the brain parasite induces reckless behaviour such as an irrational lack of fear of their predators. Symptoms also include fatigue, vision problems, seizures, balance issues, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fever, ear twitching, and general behavioural changes.
The brain parasite, scientists believe, affects the minds of animals, and provokes wild behaviour causing them to lose their fear of predators. Some known symptoms are fatigue, vision difficulty, seizures, balance issues, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fever, ear twitching, and overall behavioural changes.
But does it affect humans as well? Maybe. Studies have suggested that people who test positive for toxoplasmosis can exhibit more risk-taking behaviour. For example, according to a study issued in ScienceDirect, people who tested positive for toxoplasmosis were, overall, more likely to experience a car crash. The study credited this result to “extended reaction times.”
But it was not because of people’s careless behaviour; the research found that the parasite likely slowed down people’s reaction. At the end of the discussion, though, it’s implausible that a brain parasite is forcing humans to create AI, and there is no actual evidence to prove the point either.