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How Cyborg Tech Could Link the Minds of the World

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the thought-for-food dept.

The Internet 219

An anonymous reader writes "Science writer Michael Chorost has written a book that suggests that mankind may one day be able to link individual minds to share thoughts, feelings and perceptions by genetically modifying individuals brains and implanting computers based on neural networks in the body. Here he talks about the implications for human relationships, our sense of self and phenomenon like telempathy and dream brainstorming that this so-called World Wide Mind would make possible."

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219 comments

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Oh Crap! (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351636)

Great, now Facebook will be modifying my brain's privacy settings with little or no notice.

Re:Oh Crap! (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351688)

I don't care. I still want a gigabit ethernet port on the back of my skull.

Re:Oh Crap! (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351690)

All I'm saying is...

Goatse... IN YOUR BRAIN

Re:Oh Crap! (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351810)

Once you see it, you can't unsee it...

Re:Oh Crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351944)

Heh... The problem is...most of us here on /. have been permanently scarred by Goatse...

Too late man.. (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351914)

..it's already there.

I'm doubtful any "world wide mind" will arise anytime soon, but we absolutely could begin experiment with parallelizing rats today, i.e. raise two rats with a high bandwidth link, after one rat learns the maze, the other knows it. And we'd eventually developed massively paralleled humans, literally Beowulf. ;)

Re:Oh Crap! Forbidden Planet replaces 1984 model (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351996)

SciFic Movie [1954] Forbidden Planet where the highly advanced species murderously seeks the final solution of extinction.

Re:Oh Crap! Forbidden Planet replaces 1984 model (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352452)

When was the last time you watched that movie? The highly advanced species were victims of their own "Monsters from the Id." They created a machine that could literally make thoughts into reality, then they went to sleep and their dreams killed them all. They weren't murderously seeking anything. It's not so much a dystopian fable, as it is a direct copy of Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

Another way to ruin the world or spy on us. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352166)

What do we expect? Now our bosses will be able to read our minds.

Re:Another way to ruin the world or spy on us. (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352194)

Not just read. Write!

Re:Another way to ruin the world or spy on us. (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352294)

Let's not even mention what they'd do with execute permission.

Re:Another way to ruin the world or spy on us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352668)

Maybe they'll finally take a fucking hint.

On the one hand (5, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351646)

I had a thought, but I am not sure it is mine

Re:On the one hand (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352010)

Don't worry, if one links your mind to another, we're only hours away from there no longer being anything that could be called "I". Link 2 neural networks together, even with but a few nerves, and they become one single network, single mind. Re-separation will cripple both parts. Literally. Once there is no longer any for the 2 individual networks to remember how to walk, they won't do it anymore. Detach the networks and one body is in for a fast and thorough encounter with the ground.

Re:On the one hand (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352190)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYwZO7rxQeI [youtube.com]

Do you really want to be linked with the guy (yes, this is one person, minus the music and some art help) who made this?

Re:On the one hand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352588)

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." -Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

Maybe this technology will accelerate what already exists.

Re:On the one hand (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352738)

I fear the RIAA will go crazy if each movie only sells 1 ticket

In fact, it was not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352728)

So this Michael Chorost guy saw one of the Ghost in the Shell movies and decided to elaborate on these very old ideas?

Yawn.

Box my Brain (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351648)

I don't want to die, so box my brain and let me live on the net. I'll even let you use all the wonderful subconscious processing power that is usually dealing with my autonomous functions.

HEX

Re:Box my Brain (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351736)

We might have to sandbox you instead...

Re:Box my Brain (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352066)

I'll buy your brain image for $500! I want to be the first kid on my block with a confirmed brain map.

I bid (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352304)

I bid 3 quatloos for your brain.

As soon as this is invented (3)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351654)

we'll have an executive order giving the government the authority to wiretap your brain and read your thoughts at any time. Without needing a warrant. They'll say it's justified by the threat of terrorism, as usual.

Re:As soon as this is invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351732)

On the other hand, this "internet hive mind" sort of stuff sounds a lot like an eventual evolution of open source governance. [wikipedia.org]

Re:As soon as this is invented (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352644)

Just reading off the sense data would be terrifying enough.

we are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351664)

the Borg

Re:we are (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351764)

Yes, and I'm actually looking forward to it, at least in a way. Hopefully it will help people understand each other and cooperate on a level previously not seen.

Of course, there are obvious possible downsides, but let's just stay positive here...

Re:we are (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352050)

but let's just stay positive here...

Why? Our experience with technology is that it gets used for both good and bad. For example, we have stories all the time about governments that wish to control the flow of information. Controlling minds directly is even more effective. And if someone creates a common crackable interface for minds, a simple virus might be sufficient to co-opt most of humanity.

Re:we are (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352056)

Yes, and I'm actually looking forward to it, at least in a way. Hopefully it will help people understand each other and cooperate on a level previously not seen.

Everyone who does understand people is laughing at this comment.

It's been done. (2)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351668)

I read this book in high school - it was called "The Light of Other Days" back then.

Re:It's been done. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352418)

Actually, that was about a device that allowed you to look into the past. I have a copy sitting on my shelf.

Re:It's been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352476)

There was another one called 1984

Re:It's been done. (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352528)

Assuming you went to highschool more than 5-10 years ago, the main difference is we're now much of the way there already.

True, the coupling is through monitors and optic nerves, instead of some other slightly more direct route. But how much does that really change things?

Right now, you can sit at your desk, monitor slashdot (or foxnews, whatever), and define your self image and get an emotional rise 20 times per day about issues which (to you) are nothing more than electromagnetic disturbances. You can empathize with loved ones (or rail against politicians) over events that occurred half a world away 5 minutes ago, via twitter, email, or other means.

I don't think we fully appreciate how much of our thoughts are already dictated by the "hive mind" - by events we wouldn't even *know about* by our direct senses alone. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, for example (NYC residents excepted).

Re:It's been done. (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352710)

Yes, but that's just empathy. It's not the same as actually transferring the experience and thoughts from one person to another.

Cut to the chase! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351684)

What are the implications of this technology when applied to porn?

Re:Cut to the chase! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352080)

The world will come to a grinding halt as everyone feeds on the porn thoughts of everyone else.

Re:Cut to the chase! (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352494)

Virtual reality casual sex with no chances of catching an STD.

Of course, you might get ANOTHER kind of virus ...

"Attention! Your cerebral cortex is infected with a virus! Upgrade to the premium version of Brainsecure immediately for the low price of 1,999 credits!"

Stand Alone Complex? (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351692)

Soon we'll be having a real world Individual Eleven

Re:Stand Alone Complex? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352112)

We already do, except it isn't a mere fantasy.

Wow, you mean a scifi writer... (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351694)

You mean a scifi writer wrote a book about some scifi concepts? Amazing!

Re:Wow, you mean a scifi writer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351830)

You mean a scifi writer wrote a book about some scifi concepts? Amazing!

The Edenists in Peter Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction series were exactly like this too. IIRC they came around in the 2100s in his books.

The future is now!

Re:Wow, you mean a scifi writer... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351886)

Except that their mind sharing worked basically via magic. No detectable emissions, jamming, blocking, or interception possible. Of course, in universe... well, let's just say that if you combine in equal parts elements of sci-fi, historical fiction, and zombie apocalypse pretty much anything becomes explainable in universe.

Facebook of the future by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351698)

Mark Zuckeborg

great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351724)

Then I'll know when my ass is about to be run over by one of those damn bicycles they're letting run on the sidewalk now. Maybe the guy who runs me over will be able to feel my pain.

Sorry, I've been channeling Walter again (see JeffDunham.com or Youtube for Jeff Dunham and Walter)

BrainPal (1)

brs165 (858581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351730)

Sounds like how a BrainPal from John Scalzi book Old Man's War universe as used by the Ghost Brigades.

hawt Na'vi luvin (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351776)

"hey, that's not the same pony-tale you were just riding that flying lizard with, is it?!!!"

Been there, done that in SF. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351780)

A huge number of science fiction and fantasy stories have explored this subject. It's not exactly a new idea.

If we discover enough information about brains work to hook into them at that level, we'll be able to build brains. Probably ones that clock a lot faster and definitely have more storage than biological ones.

Glorious spam, wonderful spam (1)

return 42 (459012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351782)

Never mind Facebook, never mind warrantless wiretapping. The first and worst exploit will be SPAM.

No need for the genetic modifications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351792)

This can already be done using low frequency radio and an appropriate interface.

http://deepthought.newsvine.com

Obvious problem (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351832)

We are the cyborgs. Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Turn in your geek card... NOW. (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352548)

"We are the cyborgs"???????

"We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Do Not Want (1)

Grapplebeam (1892878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351848)

And I can't imagine why anyone would want this. Convergence is a terrifying concept, moreso than the general Christian idea of effectively being lobotomized once you reach heaven.

Re:Do Not Want (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352178)

Welcome to the new age of knowledge, Luddite...
Christianity will do what it has always done, it will adapt and change with the times, you think your religion is the same one as it was 2000 years ago?

Re:Do Not Want (1)

tehpuppet (1065678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352392)

It's an alien concept for us apes, but there could be a bunch of species-level benefits to the loss of individualism. No more violent or dishonest crime, huge efficiencies in scientific research, decentralised planetary government... we might even stand a chance of getting off Earth before we render it uninhabitable.

I suspect it could be too large an adaption for humanity to make though. I'd bet on something along the lines of Alastair Reynolds' war between the 'conjoined' and the regular humans, wherein the regular humans realise the conjoiners have vastly superior and ever-improving technology, so try to stamp them out before it's too late.

Re:Do Not Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352510)

I completely agree. I believe the downfall of humans lies with this one single trait......

We are the only swarm, of individuals. No other swarm has members acting solely on their own interests.

We as a species probably have wicked power, if only we could all get along and work towards a single goal. This whole getting off Earth nonsense I believe truly is our demise. We won't leave because we haven't evolved enough to survive. Not fit enough. Next time up the swarm that survives will be one that has individuals forfeiting their own lives to advance the swarm. We don't do that here, as much as we think the 1% who do, imply we all do.

Re:Do Not Want (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352526)

No more violent or dishonest crime, huge efficiencies in scientific research, decentralised planetary government.

LOL.

Back in the real world, the groups which have come closest to eliminating invididualism have generally been the most violent on the planet, and generally scientifically and technologically backward.

Meh I'll pass (0)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351870)

Plugging into some hive mind so I can share my thoughts with 7 billion fucking idiots? No thank you. I'll take the mortal route and hopefully check out with the average 75 years behind me. If I live to 100 I'm jumping off a bridge. Shit just roll me into the pool if I go limp. If I go demented then just tell me there's ice cream on the train tracks. Do whatever is needed to rid the world of my weakness.

Re:Meh I'll pass (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352102)

Plugging into some hive mind so I can share my thoughts with 7 billion fucking idiots? No thank you. I'll take the mortal route and hopefully check out with the average 75 years behind me. If I live to 100 I'm jumping off a bridge. Shit just roll me into the pool if I go limp. If I go demented then just tell me there's ice cream on the train tracks. Do whatever is needed to rid the world of my weakness.

How about sharing your thoughts with a badass 100k ton fusion tank? Who's weak now?

That's Ghost in the Shell. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351880)

That's Ghost in the Shell. In the world of Ghost in the Shell, most people have a cybernetic implant in the back of the neck that allows them to communicate and browse the Internet.

Of course I fully expect Christians to lose their shit over this.

Re:That's Ghost in the Shell. (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352312)

Actually, true mind sharing in GITS is probably only happening during "Ghost Hacking", which is presumably why so few people are able to do it. Think the scene with Motoko and the Laughing Man in the medical clinic in SAC. What's more used is "External Memory", which together with replaceable cyborg bodies can make people lose their identity (but not their selves, their ghosts/souls), which is illustrated by the fact that Motoko who is shown to use remote-control bodies and presumably has a huge external memory/net-data-as-memory always wears that watch on her real body as a reminder.

I thought what I'd do..... (1)

hinchles (976598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351882)

was pretend i was one of those deaf-mutes

Great... antivirus for the brain... (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351884)

C'mon, we've all seen the damage that it can do (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_of_Consciousness_%28The_Outer_Limits%29 ) - do we really want to rely on someone who can't use this to shut down the network before a botnet or virus attack kills us all?

Re:Great... antivirus for the brain... (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352624)

Or, a DDOS. DROMEDAR GAYNIGGER BICYCLE BEAVER TRIPLETS! PRAISE BOB!
People with ADHD would be considered assault weapons, at least until someone invented a filter. Which, as it would turn out, *does* fit into 30-40 bytes. But maybe we'll find out how to transfer memory or thoughts/sensations before figuring out how to automatically process it? That would be a real problem, and would probably limit the technology to only receiving input from trusted sources. Or maybe the processing would require you to tote around a full cyberdeck/commlink, like in Shadowrun.

um (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351918)

we already are linked... it's called the five senses. you should try it sometime.

Outer Limits : Stream of Conscious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351936)

This episode of Outer Limits [hulu.com] is all about something like the article.

I'll stay off of the "mind network" thank-you-very-much.

Recordings! (1)

Amyntas (1774358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35351958)

I've always wanted the ability to record my dreams. There is some pretty freaky stuff in there, but there's also some stuff I'd like to keep, and review. ;)
Perhaps.. some day..

On the same subject, at the speed this stuff happens in our little minds, we'd probably need some pretty fast storage devices, or a large array of them to keep up.

As for the sharing of thoughts, it would be nice, but no doubt we'd be bombarded with advertising right off the bat. Better be a good way to turn it off or keep things private.

Super Original! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35351970)

So he read Old Man's War? Good for him.

Resistance is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352006)

You will be assimilated .

Resistance is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352032)

You will be assimilated...

We are the Borg (1)

Zappy (7013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352038)

Resistance is futile you will be assimilated

The Zerg!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352054)

OMFG Hivemind!!

Aha! (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352072)

This breaks the spirit law... Imagine the noise you would get if every car crazy in the world were plugged directly into your mind in an arbitrarily controlled manner. LOL, you'd be hearing voices like crazy. I also think the genetic modification suggested breaks it as well. All this is quite ionic as the punishment for breach of the spirit law is...

Obligatory Matrix reference (1)

si3n4 (540106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352088)

or the obligatory Star Trek Next Generation reference(s) - someone got a book out of this ?

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352092)

When you have some tech that's even close to being able to do anything LIKE this, then call me. Until, stop speculating about the World Wide Mind. Please.

Great. (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352106)

Just what I needed, more crazy voices in my head.

Gaia ? (1)

Madcat123 (700335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352196)

Asimov described something along these lines in his Foundation series - a world-organism called Gaia. Is this where this is heading towards? Asimov also included all the animals, plant-life and everything in his system though to make it stable ... ever wondered what your chair is thinking?

Headswamped :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352204)

I had an insightful thought about this but shortly afterwards my brain was slashdotted.

Resistance is NOT futile (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352218)

IMHO, those who can resist will ultimately triumph.

Re:Resistance is NOT futile (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352562)

We are Borg. You will be assimilated.

I think he read Peter F. Hamilton.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352230)

[wikipedia] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reality_Dysfunction)

I'm pretty sure this guy read his book. Publication Date: 1996.

Re:I think he read Peter F. Hamilton.. (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352260)

If not that, he read Altered Carbon

Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352246)

May? May, you say? I thought is was a given, the only question is "When?"

Teilhard de Chardin has him beat by about 90 years (4, Interesting)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352262)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noosphere [wikipedia.org]

For Teilhard, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organizes itself in more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness. This concept is an extension of Teilhard's Law of Complexity/Consciousness, the law describing the nature of evolution in the universe. Teilhard argued the noosphere is growing towards an even greater integration and unification, culminating in the Omega Point, which he saw as the goal of history. The goal of history, then, is an apex of thought/consciousness.

Shared happiness (3, Interesting)

ddrueding80 (1091191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352274)

What would happen if you made everyone feel as happy as the global average? What affect would that have on global policy and philanthropy if acting in the common good was in fact also acting selfishly?

Re:Shared happiness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352388)

If you feel everyone's pain, and they do the same, you'd deal with the problems instead of shifting the blame.

-Rig

Shared megalomania!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352718)

Muhahahahahaahahahahaaa.

Violent thoughts (3, Informative)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352288)

So with the ability to directly convey hostility, anger, fear, and an overwhelming desire for upskirt shots, the concept of "thought crime" will become reality. "Mental assault" will be criminalized since your WOULD be able to cause distress in others with just a thought. People who were truly upset with a government would be easily detected and "dealt with".

Personally, I doubt that the tech would work as described. But if it did... consider what a surveillance-based government would do with it.

By amendment to the Constitution, any use of the aforesaid "telempathy" should be limited to online pornography.

Re:Violent thoughts (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352742)

And why shouldn't it be? If I'd link with someone and transfer thoughts or memories intended only to harm that person, that would be assault. It would at least presumably be very distressing to the receiving party, more so than a punch to the face probably.

Oh great (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352310)

I can't wait to have my brain hooked up to the hive-mind equivalent of 4chan... Why on earth would anyone think that this is a good idea?

And you don't seem to understand... (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352354)

A shame, you seemed an honest man
And all the fears you hold so dear
Will turn to whisper in your ear...

And you know what they say might hurt you
And you know that it means so much
But you don't even feel a thing...

Extroversion-introversion (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352426)

It sounds like the extroverts among us would have more fun with this than the introverted types, which includes me. The idea of constantly being hooked up to a hive-mind sounds exhausting. I suspect that if this concept ever becomes a reality and they wanted more nerds on board, then they'd have to include a switch so that individuals would have the choice to take themselves off-line every once in a while (or only join in when they felt like it).

Re:Extroversion-introversion (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352486)

Actually, introverts would probably be "stronger" than extroverts, for the reason that they have more experience with their own minds and would be better at thought-control and reading their own internal state/"being in themselves". Also, yay for "normal" people being exposed to the mind of someone with Autism or Asperger. Or, horrifyingly, psychopathy.

Pie in the sky (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352502)

Time recently had a cover story on Kurzweil and his prediction of a singularity by 2045. The only problem for all these pipe dreamers is that nobody has a clue about how the brain works. The knowledge needed to interface directly with electronics in a meaningful way is not going to arrive anytime before the end of this century. Crude prosthetics for disabled people, yes, but nothing that would be of value to a normal person (enhanced memory, computation, seamless mind/machine interfacing) will be around in anyone's lifetime.

This is much like the hype in the lead up to completing the Human Genome Project. Grand predictions were made about what it would provide for us and then when it was done, everyone realized that it was a blueprint that nobody could understand in anything but the most rudimentary way.

He is a science writer, not an expert in the field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352504)

What does he know about plausibility when it comes to taping into the brain? Sure he has a cochlear implant but that is one of the easiest parts of the brain to understand. His claim is more or less, we put a man on the moon so I predict we are going to put a man on Pluto. To be honest, I would expect slashdot to weed these stories out.

Welcome to the hive mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352508)

The neural interface already exists, and we're all using it. Monitors, speakers and keyboards link everyone through what is probably the most efficient interface possible. At our keyboards and viewing our monitors, we all share consciousness.

Future improvements will allow us all to be present together in any chosen environment, as though we are actually there as in the Matrix. Shared environments produce shared experiences.

It is doubtful that we can communicate with others any more efficiently than we already do. The reason is that our minds are highly adapted to visual and verbal communication. Direct neural connections, although possible, are unlikely to result in greater efficiency than already exists.

Borg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352532)

Resistance is futile.

zardoz (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352616)

Please watch the movie Zardoz before pursuing this further.

Re:zardoz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35352744)

isn't that one of the worst movie of all time ?

The idea makes me nervous (1)

Reteo Varala (743) | more than 3 years ago | (#35352768)

Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but there are three things the mind allows us to do, think, act, and stay alive (involuntary reflexes maintaining the body).

Now, in terms of thinking, this could allow other people to intentionally, uncontrollably interrupt my thoughts without first having direct physical access to me. I don't know about you guys, but I rely heavily on continuous thought, and can't do squat with discrete thought (think long-term focus vs. multitasking). Having an interface that can interrupt my thought process by another would be a bad thing. It might not be so bad if the wire could be pulled, but if the work being done needs information pulled from remote locations, it can be a very risky proposition.

Additionally, even now, people can operate with incorrect thoughts, but they are acquired through the normal inputs and outputs, and must pass through a reason filter in order to be integrated into the mind. The idea of there being a way to bypass that filter scares me to no end; imagine someone being able to plant a suggestion, telling you to do anything they want you to do. Maybe you'd still have the presence of mind to resist stuff you wouldn't normally do, but I've done enough technical work to know that not everybody has this presence of mind, especially when threats or enticements are used ("your computer is infected, download a security upgrade to fix," vs. "You have won $1,000,000, please provide your bank information to have it transferred to your account"). Believe me, it's not just the savvy that would want such an implant.

Next, action. Our minds determine what actions we will take, even if most of the steps are handled by nerve-based autonomous processes known as reflex (you don't have to consciously think about how to walk, you just walk). If I were to be rendered unconcious, so that an attacker could make use of my body, there's no telling how law would apply; I was unconscious at the time, I performed the action, but someone else is responsible. And that's not taking into account...

The health aspects of such a thing is probably the most frightening thing about having such a device in the mind. Every part of the human body has some basic activity that can be harmful if it stopped, even for a short time. A healthy nervous system allows the proper timing signals to be received by the involuntary muscles in the body including heart, lungs, and digestive tract. Without these, neither nutrients nor oxygen would make it to the cellular tissue, especially the muscles themselves. The body would break down, eventually dying as a result.

We do have diseases, but right now, they are limited to physical infections which are localized, and usually contained and expelled by a healthy immune system (autoimmune diseases notwithstanding). Having a direct access to the brain, however, opens up the risk for a much more dangerous form of infection; imagine some really antisocial people coming up with a virus program that can alter the signals going to the heart muscles, such as, say stopping the heart, or maybe increasing the rate to even more dangerous levels. Imagine something that can force the adrenal glands to keep producing. Or perhaps stop the pancreas, inducing a state of diabetes in anyone. Or perhaps disable dopamine production, leading to a number of frightening diseases.

The point is this, if you set your brain up to be affected by computers, then it'll be just as well-protected as any computer is against attack. And unlike a computer, this cannot easily be reformatted, nor can an alternative OS be installed... at least, not without you no longer being you.

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