I think there should be some sort of commitee formed to investigate the dangers as well as the benefits of technology that directly intefaces with the brain. Perhaps I've just played too much Shadowrun and read too many cyberpunk novels, but BTL ("Better Than Life") technology is going to become a reality, perhaps in our lifetime.
Now, all positive aspects aside for a moment (forget about uploading, integratings Math SPUs into your brain, etc, for a second) let's take a look at the possiblities for abuse here:
I realize this is an example from a roleplaying game, but, still it's a good one. "BTL" chips in Shadowrun are "simsense" (recordings of human sensory impressions) that have had thier peak signal regulators disabled or altered. In effect, they cause whoever uses them to experience sensory input or emotions more intense and sharper than anything thier real senses could ever produce by any external stimuli.
In effect, they are "Better than Life".
A main subplot in the game is the BTL industry and the disastrous effects that it has on society. Imagine the drug war, but even more difficult to spot, control, and interdict. Even harder to treat. How do you wean someone off an addiction that makes Heroine look like Cancy corn? How you do convince somebody who's half-starved from lying on the floor of his apartment with a Dreamchip active for 2 days that he should stop, eat some food, and get back to his life? How do you interdict the BTL industry when literally anybody with a computer and some electronic expertise can fiddle with a sensory recording until the signal regulators are broke?
In Shadowrun, there are all kinds of nasty side effects to your characters from BTL use. All sorts penalities, both temporary and permanent. Brain damage, psychological trauma. Peramanentl chemical imbalance due to the dreamchip flooding your brain with natural opiates too long. Much like it would be in real life.
This issue needs to be at least discussed, and considered some. BTL, perhaps not now, or not even in a few decades, will one day be a problem.
I apologize if this note seemed a little disorganized, but I am tired. Still, this is the appropriate list to discuss this sort of thing.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:46 MDT