A view into the future (Part 2): Technology, interdependence and becoming immortal
Welcome back to the second part in this two part series on how to be scared of the future!
In my last post I showed with some examples of split brain patients, gut bacteria affecting your personality and other day to day observations that the hard line we imagine between us and the rest of the world is actually a little bit blurry it would seem! In this post we shall continue along these lines and think about where this could lead with the kind of technology which has been coming out in the past decade or so.
Nowadays we already have a bit of wearable technology. Google glasses allow to experience augmented reality in which notifications, weather, messages and so forth appear over the top of what you can see through the glasses. smart watches measure your pulse, monitor your sleep and help you track your overall fitness. We even have implants which contain information such as payment apps implanted in your hand, or monitor your blood sugar level and pace-makers have been around for a long time now. We even have bionic limbs which can be controlled by thought!
Combining brain with technology
Maybe in the future, an implant may be possible in your brain. Crazy! Never! Actually, it is already happening! Click here to see an article about Bain-computer interfaces and brain monitoring implants as well as implants which release proteins in your brain for those in need of such medical treatment. All of this is for medical purposes, but it does not seem too far fetched to imagine the use of this technology becoming more mainstream. Maybe a microchip in your brain could help you access the internet with thought! So, we could ‘think’ what the weather is tomorrow, or what year the battle of Hastings took place. We might also be able to write an email by thought.
Next, maybe many people get this technology. It becomes normal, like mobile phones, or social media. So, you could have virtual chats with a friend anywhere in the world, by just thinking. We must realise that we may often think in words and sentences, but not always. Sometimes we think without words or language. On those occasions, currently we cannot communicate those ideas without translating into language, and so often there are arguments and people do not understand one another.
All of this would change with this technology. In fact, you and your friend may cease to feel like two separate people. It may be possible that your thoughts and your friends’ thoughts could be difficult to tell apart. This is similar to the two hemispheres inside your brain which constantly communicate with one another and so make it seem as if you are one person. Now you and your friends may seem like one person! That feels a little strange!
Eventually, this could spread to larger groups than just two. Maybe the whole world. After all, language is no longer a barrier, because we are communicating via thought. At this point, we would become a superorganism. One ‘person’ made out many humans. In the same way as one human is made out of many living cells. This idea was first postulated in Star Trek with the idea of ‘The Borg’
Are we already one super-organism?
We tend to think of ourselves as separate independent people in control of our lives, but in reality we are hugely dependent on millions of people everyday. At least the majority of things we do are dependent on the actions of other millions of people. When we shop for food, when we use technology, when we turn on our lights or buy some clothes, it is only possible because of the work of people we have never met.
Right now as I type this sentence it is only possible for the people who maintain the National grid, the people who maintain the internet, the people who helped to develop the internet in the first place, the people who made my computer, who mined the materials needed for the computer, the books I read which inspired me to write what I wrote, the people who enabled me to buy the book by making, distributing and advertising it.
Meanwhile, the services we all provide in our jobs and in life are helping countless people to do the things they want to do. We rarely reflect on this fact and maybe we should a little more often. In a way, we are already a super organism without realising.
A bit about the author, Paul H:
Paul is a qualified and experienced Physics, Maths, and Science teacher, now working as a full-time tutor, providing online tuition using a variety of hi-tech resources to provide engaging and interesting lessons. He covers Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Science from Prep and Key Stage 3 through to GCSE and IGCSE. He also teaches Physics, Maths, and Chemistry to A-Level across all the major Exam Boards.