Leading Article: Mind-blowing ideas for the future
Friday 16 October 1998
Then there are the more doubtful possibilities. If people can transmit information directly to computers, what is to stop traffic going the other way? One thing the human brain is not very good at is storing information, especially of the abstract kind, like telephone numbers. Imagine being able to plug in directly to a CD-Rom. Bad news for directory enquiries.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is the science fiction nightmare of having one's thoughts transmitted and read by someone else. Not many volunteers for that, we suspect. Visions of a hard-wired Thought Police make 1984 seem like a tale of innocence, and the second-by-second monitoring of supermarket check-out operators seem a model of personal autonomy.
Of course, any technological advance requires vigilance to ensure the protection of freedom, but we should welcome the chance to expand the capacity of the human mind and explore the nature of consciousness. Let us harness the wonders of technology, not take fright at them.
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