Natural Changes are more Visable than Technological Changes
People who think that they are not particularly knowledgeable about technology actually are to the
extent that they are living it. When you upgrade to a Blackberry, you are increasing your
connectedness. When you Google something and find new information, you are becoming “smarter”
because you have access to information you didn’t have before.
Some blind people are receiving electronic retinas connected to their brains so that they can see.
Doctors are implanting a computers in patient's brains to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
The before and after videos are astounding. I know people with cochlea implants and heart pacemakers
are common. There is absolutely no doubt that we are connecting computers with people and sooner or
later, the option of having oneself connected electronically to the Internet will be quite common. There
are blogs where people are already calling it unfair that rich people will get connected and poor people
will not be able to afford the cost of surgery. To these people, it is obvious that it will happen and a
given that it should happen. The only question is “will it be fair to those who cannot afford it?”
I picture people walking down the street past a AT&T store which offers brain-upgrade phones. Picture
that a couple named Sue and Tom are only 20-something and are married to each other. These young
people walk in just to see what is going on and they both decide not to get an upgrade. Salesman wags
his head and calls us stupid under his breath. But what if Frieda and Don both get Parkinson’s disease
and the computer device that they insert is the new one that is monitored by the doctor’s computer. To
do the monitoring, both people now have computers in their brains which give feedback information to
the doctors using the cell phone network. This is not strange, they have pacemakers which give
information back to the doctors now.
But now when this couple walks by the AT&T store, all they have to do is to “sign up” because the
operation connecting them to the Internet via the cell phone network has already been performed. The
“upgrade” would be as easy as it was for anybody to “upgrade to a Blackberry”. At that point in time,
Tom decides to sign up. Sue decides not to.
Now the plot thickens. The connected member of the couple will grow to feel like his connection to the
Internet is “part of me”. We know this will happen because of studies that have been conducted on
humans which receive cochlea implants, etc. What will happen to the relationship between two people
when one is connected and the other one isn’t?