bascule Posted May 12, 2005 Share Posted May 12, 2005 Well, here I am being lame and reposting another blog entry of mine, but it's something I consider to be of monumental importance. The human mind has been a black box since the dawn of our existence, and once we open up that box and begin to tinker inside we will dramatically increase the rate at which the rate of change is increasing. Are you prepared? Historian James Burke was fascinated with how a revolutionary idea could instigate broad, sweeping change across society, something he called the "trigger effect." Namely, our ordinary everyday lives remain largely unaffected by the constant change around us until a triggering idea sweeps through all of society and transforms it in remarkable ways. He used the example of the plow transforming the Egyptians from nomadic tribesmen into the first highly organized, modern society: the plow meant you could grow food anywhere around the Nile, you knew how much food you were going to grow, and for the first time that amount was a surplus which meant you could begin planning for the future. We are on the verge of experiencing a trigger of change which will literally be the last, because its effect upon society will be so transformational that it will unmake society as we know it. What's more, the groundwork for this technology has already been laid. In 2003 scientists created a mathematical model of the operation of the center of short term memory in the human brain, the hippocampus, and in 2003 began testing a prosthetic replacement for this portion of the brain. The intended use was to help people who had damaged their hippocampus in an accident and lost their short term memory, such as the main character in the movie Memento. With an isolated mathematical model of the operation of the hippocampus, which serves not only as the center of short term memory but also a sort of "relay station" in the brain where long term memories are dumped after they are recalled and short term memories deemed significant are written out to long term memory, we can begin figuring out how to augment this structure's behavior to provide truly revolutionary functionality: an interface between human memory and information in electronic networks. Can you imagine what would happen if all the information on the Internet were always accessible to you, 24/7, and all you had to do to find a particular piece of information is simply to try to remember it? What's more, can you imagine what would happen when computer machinery can be used to aid your own thinking? Suddenly math, all kinds from the simplest arithmetic to the most complex physics equations, would become as second nature to you as remembering what you had to eat for breakfast this morning. James Burke noted a major problem of the modern age with the following quote: Never before in history have so many known so little about so much of the world around them. In this problem stems a growing feeling of isolation and disconnectedness growing in the population. The sum of human knowledge has grown so immense that comprehending an infintessimal fraction of it requires a lifetime of devotion. No longer can the average Joe comprehend the complex political issues necessary to vote intelligently about a candidate, and consequently elections have become more about appealing to the masses on an emotional level than who is actually the fittest candidate. Some of the greatest problems mankind has grappled with, such as ignorance, intolerance, isolation and lonliness, and the incomprehensibility of everything around us will be blown away as our species becomes interconnected like never before. Right now there exists an enormous and almost insurmountable barrier that anyone with a good idea must overcome to place it into the public eye. As communication becomes easier, this barrier is dissolving. Thus the rate of change of society increases as the difficulty of communication decreases, because more good ideas are able to emerge into the public eye through grass roots spreading of information. Neuroprosthetics will bring this concept to a whole new level, when everyone becomes interconnected and good ideas will be able to spread like wildfire as the total sum of information we exchange with each other continues to increase with the ease of communication. No longer will the world be a confusing and frustrating place. You'll always know what time it is. You'll always know exactly where you are and know the most efficient possible route to get from where you are to where you are going. No machine, no electronic gizmo, no system of technology will ever confuse you again, because you'll know everything about it. No longer will you be bored in any discussion about the most esoteric topic you can imagine. You will know as much about 2nd century theologians like Tertullean as you do now about your favorite TV show. Are you beginning to see what a fascinating and wonderful world this technology is about to unleash? Well hold on, because the transformations we are about to undergo are more far reaching and profound than I have even begun to illustrate here. Tune in again next time to my crazy blog and prepare to have your mind blown even more. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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