(Tea Party 247) – Some days, it seems our society mirrors that of George Orwell’s 1984 all too well…only with far more advanced technology.
In the novel, which depicts a totalitarian dystopia, citizens are monitored constantly with a slew of cameras and “telescreens,” which bark orders at people in addition to watching their every movement.
These days, we are all monitored, profiled, and influenced by a series of devices, many of which we purchase happily with our own money.
In many ways, this era of technological growth has improved life on our planet, but in others, it has made life far less free.
To go down the path of linking human consciousness to a computer cloud with the capacity to read minds could lead to “totalitarian mind control,” philosopher Slavoj Zizek (pictured at top) is warning.
As the senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Zizek is sounding the alarm as fears over the potentials of artificial intelligence mount.
Zizek notes that MIT has already developed a “helmet” that can read thoughts and reproduce them in writing or in an artificial voice.
Arnav Kapur, a student in MIT’s Media Lab, has developed a system to surf the internet with his mind. He silently Googled our questions and heard the answers through vibrations transmitted through his skull and into his inner ear. pic.twitter.com/aN76Jn4AHv
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 22, 2018
Certainly, people may participate in such technology harmlessly, but Zizek has asked us what would happen if it were applied “without you knowing it?”
“The next step in this ‘utopia’ will be a computer that can read my thoughts and your thoughts that can connect us so that we can share our thoughts. If you and I are connected through the same computer, I can literally participate in your thinking directly without any external communication like word typing,” he writes.
He explains that he finds the prospect of a mass shared consciousness “pretty horrifying” as it would eliminate any sense of freedom of thought or individuality.
It’s like the ultimate Tower of Babel…
He draws upon two examples of how technology could ruin basic human interaction.
“All flirting will be out. I meet someone and instead of all the lovely games of erotic hints she can read ‘I want to go to bed with you’ and the eroticism will disappear,” he explains.
Then there is everyday courtesy, how would that work if we can all just read each other’s thoughts?
“Another simple example is everyday politeness. Let’s say we know each other but we are not mega-close friends. I see you on the street and say the usual polite things like: ‘hello, how are you? I am glad to meet you.’ But if you can read my mind this is nonsense because this is politeness and I do not mean it. Usually, I do not care how you feel,” he explains.
This is to say nothing of the capacity of anyone who could have access to the cloud of shared consciousness.
Can you even imagine the kind of power to enslave one would have if we were all willing to upload our minds to the cloud?