PLAYING DARPA IN THE BRAVE NEW (TRANSHUMANIST CYBORG) WORLDJanuary 31, 2013
Before you rush out and get that brain chip implant you've been so craving, or upgrade your Pentium Cerebellum Enhanced Scanning and Memory Aide, ponder this one, and some the the implications:
This bit of news has to have the modern Peter Lorre's, Vincent Price's, Boris Karloff's, and Bela Lugosi's who work for DARPA rubbing their hands together in mad scientist cackling glee as they contemplate yet more possible transhumanist cyborg futures.
Already, as readers here are aware, some transhumanists envision a future where one's entire life memory can be downloaded to a computer chip or other storage device, and then uploaded into a nice shiny brand new body full of nanobots and wondrous genetic modifications designed to ensure health and longevity, and, voila, a kind of instant, virtual immortality and reincarnation all at once: ancient myth made modern reality by the means of science and technology. As we wrote in the preface to Dr. de Hart's and my The Grid of the Gods:
Modern science is but a technique of the imagination to bring into reality the operations of the magical intellect and the mythologies of the ancients, with consistent and predictable regularity. (The Grid of the Gods, p. iii.)
With the implicit mention of the power of the gods, one can imagine the endless vistas of powerlust opened to the twisted minds who envision the "dark side" of the cyborg future: one could literally infect vast population groups with computer viruses to delete or rearrange those downloaded and uploaded memory files at will, or, for that matter, shift such memory files from one person to another, write in new or false memories of things that never happened, turn on or turn off various reasoning or emotive faculties of the "host brain"... the possibilities are endless.
A whole new industry - cyborg security - would be spawned, dwarfing the current industry of security software designed to make the Microsh*t operating systems "secure" (we all know the real answer: buy a Mac). A whole new branch of identify theft protection would be spun out of the current business; insurance companies would have a field day of a whole new area of premiums to collect...
... not to mention the possibilities for espionage - with or without the knowledge of the implantee (sort of makes you wonder about all those abductees with their implants, and what the implants are really monitoring)...
The bottom line is this: this world is coming, like it or not. And like all technologies, it has its goods, and evils. And with all due respect to those transhumanists who believe in the heaven or hell versions of the singularity scenario, it's beginning to look very much like we have yet another via media on our hands, and that we will simply have to muddle through...
See you on the flip side.