Neural lace sounds like a dress material for androids. The term, as used by Elon Musk, reflects grander ambitions. The Tesla boss believes humans can be improved by implanting meshes of ultra-thin electrodes into their heads to speed the flow of data to and from the brain. People risk being left behind by artificial intelligence (AI), he says.

The erratic tech entrepreneur is the last person most of us would want poking around under our hoods. Worries about AI eclipsing humans are overdone, moreover. Computers that could mimic human intelligence would be the size of aircraft hangars and use a million times more power than the brain, says Steve Furber, pioneer of one of the world’s most widely used chips.

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