Future Boy: This is your brain on Google – Jul. 21, 2006

OK, I just read this:

Future Boy: This is your brain on Google – Jul. 21, 2006
Stu Wolf, one of the top scientists at Darpa, the Pentagon’s scientific research agency which gave birth to the Internet, seriously believes we’ll all be wearing computers in headbands within 20 years.

By that time, we’ll have superfast, supertiny computers that make today’s machines look like typewriters. The desktop will be dead, says Wolf, and the headband will dominate.

“We already know we can trigger neurons mechanically,” he says. “You can interact directly with the brain without implanted electrodes. Then the next step is being able to think something and have it happen: Flying a plane, driving a car, operating household machinery.”

Controlling devices with the mind is just the beginning. Next, Wolf believes, is what he calls “network-enabled telepathy” – instant thought transfer. In other words, your thoughts will flow from your brain over the network right into someone else’s brain. If you think instant messaging is addictive, just wait for instant thinking.

What utter nonsense! Sure, this will be very useful for people who cannot effectively use their limbs, but is is better than interacting through eyes and hands?

Our brains have a lot of dedicated ‘machinery’ to take care of our hands and other limbs. We we do not have to think about every single thing we do. For example, we do not have to think like this: “OK, I want to pick up this piece of paper, so I must position my hands correctly, with the right fingers ready to grip it” and so on. Most of the time we don’t even have a conscious thought about simple things like this — our brains have specialized components dedicated to take care of this on our behalf.

So here is the thing, by removing the use of our limbs we will have to learn new skills to operate these thought-interception devices.

Do you think that you won’t have to switch metal modes to get into driving mode for example? OK, if driving mode is simply telling an artificial intelligence agent where you want to go, fine. But if you are required to navigate the roads, you will be without the aid of millions of years of muscle memory. You will have to concentrate.

You will have less of your brain available for other tasks.

That’s what I think anyway.


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