Neuromancer V0.1

As anyone that meets me sooner or later figures out, I’m a huge sci-fi fan. This is why a good third of the bookshelves in the house contain sci-fi and fantasy. Anyhow, one of the most influential science-fiction novels of the past 20… er, 21 years was William Gibson’s Neuromancer. I’m not going to discourse on the merits of the work here because it’s not entirely relevant. Whether you think it’s a poorly written piece of crap or the best novel ever written is not the point. Even people who don’t like it will (grudgingly) admit that it shaped the sci-fi field. The ideas that Gibson threw around so casually have shaped the vision of the future for a lot of people.

One of the central tenets of the book is “jacking in” or transposing your consciousness into a representation of the world datasphere. A really crappy version of this concept can be seen in the execrable film Johnny Mnemonic, which is loosely based on one of Gibson’s short stories. That’s just one of the concepts that Gibson helped popularize. I bring this up because of a research project at the University of Utah. The bright people are developing wireless electrodes that can be implanted in your head so that you can control things by thinking. Once again, I am not making this shit up. While I do see some big technical problems to overcome, the basic theory is pretty sound. I don’t see it becoming an elective surgery anytime soon, but who knows what the future may bring? Cyborgs! Yeah, that’s it! Cyborgs! While I’ll make jokes about it, this is a truly amazing technology. We are getting ever closer to the world of the future I was promised long ago.

In a somewhat related story, Simson Garfinkel points out a story about a woman who lost her brain remote control. So it seems that security is something the medical researchers need to think about if they haven’t already. It would truly suck to have somebody hack your body.

As a final note, I found this out through NASA Tech Briefs Insider, which I get once a week. The newsletter features some truly cutting-edge technology in all fields. If you are a techno-geek, you might check it out.


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