Our previous post touched on the inexorable encroachment of sensors and listening devices into every cranny of our lives. In the comment-thread I mentioned a “particular nightmare” of my own, and said I’d describe it in a new post.
It is this: given the exponential advances being made in brain-machine interfaces and nanotech, I see no obvious barrier to implantable communication interfaces. (The current state of the art is better at controlling things with our brains than receiving input, but work proceeds apace, and I’m sure things will accelerate briskly on both fronts.)
Imagine being able to send and receive messages across such an interface. At first it would be on the level of text-massaging, I suppose, but it’s hard to see any limit to the possibilities — images, emotional states, and perhaps the full range of qualia and subjective experience. The possibility, then, is actual mind-to-mind networking, and the accomplishment of this would be, I think, the starting point for a rapidly evolving, Borg-like aggregate. I really don’t think this is far-fetched at all, and I expect it to be within our technical capabilities in no more than a decade or two at most. It would be a truly radical — I believe the vogue word is “disruptive” — alteration of the human experience.
Would you sign on for such a thing? I have a feeling that if you didn’t, you’d very quickly be left behind — and any organized resistance to it would face impossible odds. It would be like fighting gods. What I think will happen will be that there will be some remnant who will not participate, and they will simply be left behind to die out.
That this scenario, which to me seems quite obviously likely, doesn’t seem to come up much in techno-futurist circles rather puzzles me.
Here’s another angle: Elon Musk advising us that we will have no choice, really, but to become man-machine hybrids. (I suppose with my artificial knee I’m on the way already.)