Join Or Die

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.)

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12 Comments

  1. Rick says

    Not concerned with the Borgs. For:
    What is un-natural will not last. In fact, the increase in Borg-people decreases their value, while non-Borgs (moi) will increase in value.
    Too: (and let this be a warning to you Borgs visiting us already from the future) The Remnant is not made of sugar candy.

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  2. JK says

    “That this scenario, which to me seems quite obviously likely, doesn’t seem to come up much in techno-futurist circles rather puzzles me.”

    That future is upon us.

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-12/uom-uom121416.php

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  3. Kauf Buch says

    “…quickly left behind…”.
    PLEASE!

    This sort of thinking REEKS of those who claim the “inevitability” of socialism/communism.

    NOPE.

    Humans DO have limits.
    Wait and see, kiddo.

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Kauf Buch,

    “Kiddo”?

    How many people do you know who don’t have a telephone?

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Rick,

    What is un-natural will not last.

    We’ll see. Anaesthesia, electric lighting, and the wheel have been holding up pretty well so far.

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
  6. JK says

    Timely …

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-02/uond-rd021417.php

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  7. This is very worrisome. I can’t imagine how face-to-face bridge tournaments can survive such a scenario.

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  8. Erebus says

    This short story seems highly relevant.

    And think: Not only implantable communication interfaces, but, given recent advances in neural networks and machine learning, instant translation between languages. Google Translate has improved by leaps and bounds over the past year. It’s going to keep getting better. Advantage: Cyborgs. (Yet another one…)

    Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink
  9. Whitewall says

    None of this sounds like a good future, at least a human future. What was that Zager and Evans song “In the year 2525”?

    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink
  10. guy says

    Right now a savage with a machete can run around hacking a few up people in a modern city.

    Jets flown into the trade centers killed what, 3000?

    I’m picturing an EMP device in a crowded area full of people with chips wired into their brains.

    Posted February 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  11. JK says

    Guy,

    I’m picturing an EMP device in a crowded area full of people with chips wired into their brains.

    Or something perhaps a little more mundane?

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB962

    Posted February 15, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  12. Tina says

    Revelation 13

    Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

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