Science fiction absolutely loves this idea: brain chips. There are so many different applications for them, both good and bad, that it has people absolutely baffled by the concept. What can they do? How do they affect people? How will they change the world? The sky’s the limit because it’s brain chips! You can do pretty much anything with the topic like this, however, I’ll be focusing on the more practical applications for such technologies used in the future. So, what if you could learn everything you ever wanted to know in just a couple of minutes?
G’Day Mates! Cam Levengood here with another edition of Society Smash: disrupting society with ground-smashing technology. So brain chips, am I right? What could we actually do with them? For the majority of this article, we’ll be focusing on what the brain chip actually is (or might be), what it could be able to do, and how it would affect the world in a practical way, both positive and the negative. Let’s get started on this scientific journey.
My go to site for disturbing outlooks into a future of lazy humans, futuretimeline.net, predicts that the first brain chips will become operational in 2023, to treat lost or bad memories, which I admittedly wouldn’t mind. It cites already preformed clinical trials on animals (source), and humans by 2015, and estimates that it will become safe enough to use in hospitals by that date. Going off of this, we can assume that at the current rate of technological advancement, it may become possible to see advanced versions of this technology as being commonplace by the 2030’s. But, what would such a piece of tech actually be able to do?
What’s a Brain Chip?
Obviously, a brain chip’s a computer chip that is installed in your brain to serve a wide variety of functions. Because it’s essentially just a small computer like device, there would be, in theory, a lot of different things it could do. When we think about what a computer chip like this would actually be, you have to think of in terms of future technology. A device like this is probably very expensive, costing no less than thousand dollars even in the future. If you can imagine how big a card of memory is in a regular computer, think like that, but smaller, as the chip would likely be similar to a smaller version of that. After a surgical procedure, where the computer’s connected to your brain inside your head, you’d awaken being able to do whatever the chip was designed for, but what could they be designed for?
What Can It Do?
As mentioned before, one of the major, first-time applications of this technology would be to improve memory. There are, no doubt a lot of people who of memory problems, such as myself, some more severe than others. It can range from just forgetting about your car keys, to forgetting about your kid you left in the restaurant by mistake, to forgetting who you are and where you’ve been for the past 20 years. Dementia and Alzheimer’s, some of the more painful chronic conditions that elders can suffer, as it can impair their memory so much, that they are effectively not the same person anymore. Just like this could work wonders in improving the memory of such patients by expanding upon their already existing memory to improve mental processing. Since the implant would be very much like a miniature computer, we can assume that such a device, also, has its own storage capacity, and may even be able to download information from the brain, to the device, making it usable again. A device like this would effectively undo all forms of brain damage, such as these, by directly counteracting their effects.
Athletes, celebrities, soldiers, businessmen, and regular people might one day have the opportunity to download parts of some of their most precious memories, effectively saving them in case something should happen to them. If they get into a horrible accident where their brain is still usable, but they suffered a form of memory loss, under a comatose state, or have incurred significant physical damage to certain sectors of the brain, it could be reset using this storage technology. You need only the time for a doctor’s visit to download the information from a computer to the implant to restore the memory of an individual, acting as a sort of reset button for the person.
To me, one of the most practical and yet scary ways of using this technology is the immense amount of freedom that computers provide. If uploading and downloading processes from computers to implants is simple enough to use it for memories, when I use it for other things to?
Students, teachers, and scholars can make use of these implants to upload textbooks, diagrams, and raw knowledge to their brains, effectively rendering school obsolete, and ushering in a new generation of super smart people. Sure, if the implant is ever removed, all of their knowledge would effectively become useless, and unusable, however, what are the chances of that happening? Who’s to say such a future technology could just run off our bodily fuels: food, water, and such, so you may not ever need to remove it to charge, refuel, or be repaired, so long as the biotechnology field stays up-to-date with this device. It may eventually be possible to fully integrate computers into our minds full time, to the point where may be indistinguishable what is and what’s not the computer.
That’s just one of the applications, though. There are many, many more things it can do, many of which I’m slightly disturbed by, say the least. If you can use brain chips to fix memories, and learn faster than ever, why not just go full circle and learn entire skills, instantly. Want to fish? Go fish! There are no limits to your ability if you can just plug in a fishing chip and go. Although this technology is very cool, it also poses a huge threat to nearly every professional in the world, and completely ruins the idea of hard work and dedication, in the process. I could spend the next hundred years writing but anyone else on the planet could just plug in a writing chip, and outperform me in every way. They wouldn’t need to check for spelling, or have to worry about grammar, and otherwise be exempt from checking all the other writing conventions that I have to manually check for. Where it takes me hours of extreme focus to pen a thousand words, a computer assisted author could just do it automatically. Needless to say, the tech could become detrimental to others, such as myself, while being beneficial to some, also myself.
I’ve always wanted to ice skate so I could play hockey, but I started too late and my legs weren’t developed and instinctively trained enough for me to skate with any skill whatsoever. However, this tech could potentially give me access to techniques and pre-programed training that I would had to otherwise spend years learning. This would, however, essentially render the talents of pro skaters and hockey players essentially worthless, but just as the writing chip would make my talent worthless, it would also open up the door for people to explore different pastimes without needing to learn how to do everything. Assuming that this technology is available to everyone, who’s to say that I can’t just use the brain chip to make my abilities better, and by extension, be on the same level as everyone else with it? Same goes for all the other skills and abilities you can learn.
Is It Dangerous or Not?
So, now that we’ve finished our giant discussion of what this tech could do, what kinds of danger does this technology pose? You would think that plugging computers into someone brain would pose some major health risks, but I highly doubt that. According to that timeline article I linked near the beginning of this discussion, they’re technically already doing this, and by the time it goes public, it’ll probably be just as safe as any other procedure that’s happening now. As a concerned citizen when it comes to the future of the world economy, however, I’m more concerned for the safety of said economy when this device is implemented.
If just anyone could use this tech, as I’ve stated several times over at this point, the effects it would have on the workforce would be both detrimental and beneficial at the same time. Like I said, brain chips = tons of new smart people = people losing their jobs = people getting new jobs = total shift in the workforce. We can’t quite predict what would happen to the economy as a result, because nothing like this has ever happened before. The economy in general would likely grow in value, of course, because likes other technological revolutions (such as the machine and information revolutions), we can expect the new machines to change how the workers do their jobs. However, would this change be able to affect the economic system we use?
The majority of the world’s nations use a mixed economic system that is primarily a capitalist system with features of socialism, but would a workers revolution like this push us closer to a pure socialist state? Possibly. According to the works of (literally) revolutionary economist Karl Marx, the world can be organized into
2050: a Human Odyssey
On a slightly lighter note, many different researchers and computer scientists placed the time of the technological event known as the singularity, in which computers become so powerful, they’re capable of redesigning and reproducing all of their hardware and software, effectively rendering humans obsolete in the process. For more information, I point out some of the other pros and cons in this article I wrote here. As for this technology, brain chips, despite rendering all traditional hard work and accomplishment obsolete, could be one of the few ways that humanity can stay up to speed with the computers, keeping them from outmoding us from the picture. Could this technology produce the conditions needed to save the human race from its replacement? Yes, but we’ll need to sit on this idea and see where things go, like with most futurist topics.
Thanks for reading everyone! If you thought that the topic was interesting, and want to hear more cool/creepy things, don’t forget to leave a like and prepare yourself for the future! If you want to support my work, please feel free to leave a like or a comment, good or bad, so I know that someone was listening. Don’t forget to visit my social pages for more of my daily thoughts, and remember to tell your friends. Don’t touch that dial, because there’s still more to come!
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