My grandmother used to tell me, “The world is wiser and weaker.” She spouted many of these gems, but these words specifically came to mind when I read a blog by Bill Meisel.
Bill discussed an Intel-commissioned white paper, written by Booz Allen Hamilton that was released just a month ago. The premise of the paper was that connected devices will interface with our brain directly at some point. I confess to both wonder and EEEEwwwwww reactions.
Bill also sites an article in the June 2 of the Wall Street Journal—Bionic Brains and Beyond, by Daniel H. Wilson, a modern-day Gene Roddenberry. The article is fascinating—beginning with the implant-amped brain of Suzy Hamilton, a future spelling bee winner. The case is made that like prosthetic limbs help people move, neural implants will help people think.
Wow. On one hand, wouldn’t we all like a nudge to the old IQ figure? I’d like to think faster on my feet, especially since through the years I’m seeing the tradeoffs between knowing more with age, and being able to recall it less. But, there’s still the question of where does this all end?
Do we choose everything about our future children from gender to how smart we want them to be? Do we slip in an implant soon after birth or wait until we see how little Mary or Martin fares on their own? Can we implant away crime some day, replacing the “Abbie Normal” brain in the old film Young Frankenstein? How will we know the contestants on TV’s Jeopardy haven’t been amped? Will there be a test to sniff out cheaters as there is with steroid-amped athletes?
And, back to grandma, how will this weaken us? Will there be holdouts when this becomes a commonplace occurrence? Will they form a new society and fight with the superior thinkers?
Makes you wonder, huh?