Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I control them with my MIND!

Scientists are closing in on cyberpunk.  That is, the meshing of meat and machine that will eventually allow us to control robots, computers, cars, guns, and anything else we can dream up at the speed of thought.  Check this out; among a bunch of interesting but to my mind nondescript scientific advances we have managed to allow a quadriplegic to control a robot with her brain and give sight to the blind by stuffing implants into their heads.

The singularity and the attendant mind uploading is a bit far off still because our minds really are part of our bodies; they aren't separate machines and mind/body duality is a myth.  That said, once we get better at stuffing our skulls full of tech and spend the requisite time training in its use we will be able to toss our keyboards away, stop using remote controls, and turn car dashboards into pure displays with nary a button to be found.  I very much look forward to logging into a car from a few meters away, popping the door open, sliding into the seat, and driving off all with my hands ensconced firmly in my pockets.

The trouble is that everybody else will be doing the same thing.  Think about it; if you were the only one who could control everyday objects with your brain you would be the coolest cat in town.  It would be like being a ninja, movie star, and wizard all at once.  Unfortunately all those other people will be doing the same thing and you will have to settle for a few months of 'isn't this awesome!' before it becomes an old hat.  The Hedonic Treadmill strikes again, this time with slicing open your head with a knife first.

One thing that really has me curious is how many people will resist mind/tech fusion when it comes.  Cyberpunk literature usually has a focus on the costs of stuffing yourself full of machines and there is inevitably conflict where people feel that it is against The Natural Order / God / Humanity.  Would a lot of people refuse the surgery required to tech themselves up, even if cost weren't a factor?  I can see a lot of the population being squicked out by brain surgery for convenience's sake but a whole lot of that is going to melt the first time they see somebody dim the lights and start the mood music just by tilting their head.

Pictures from: and