Will Neurotechnology Change How We Think?
Yes. Neurotechnology will absolutely change how we think. We’re talking about a technology that interfaces directly with our brains and which allows us to manipulate the world in directions that, in some ways, closely resemble magic. How could it not change us? So now that I’ve spoilered this whole blog post, here’s three big reasons in a bit more detail.
The line between individual and society will blur
We talk about how society can be informed and altered by a collective unconscious: a set of assumptions and ideas and ways of seeing things that lurk around in the backs of our minds, subtly aligning how we experience the world. This gluey social connectedness come from all kinds of sources: literature, pop culture, our folklore. It’s the fabric of civilization.
With the emergence of neurotechnology, we won’t just be connected by a collective unconscious. We’ll also experience what it feels like to be connected by a collective consciousness. Imagine a free-flowing fabric of ideas, impressions, emotions and intuitions binding us together into a kind of hive mind. It’s scary, sure, but it’s also mind boggling to contemplate the places this kind of group thought may take us.
It’s reasonable to imagine that our relationship to society will blur. Today, excellence and achievement are thought of as very individualistic accomplishments. In our future this may not be the case. As our ego-driven model of individualism dwindles, what will be left in its place? It’s impossible to know, but it will be radically different.
The way we approach problems and challenges will change
Assuming we reach a point of taking for granted that we can think as a collective species, the problems and challenges we face are likely to be solved very differently. Anyone who has worked as part of a team on a big project is likely to agree that one of the biggest bottlenecks and frustrations in getting something to happen is not the problem itself, but the systems for organizing people.
Project management software, file management systems, databases, contracts, policy manuals, reward and recognition programs… argh. The list goes on and on — and these are all the things that have to be set in place before a large corporation of humans can get anything done. Not only does this chew up time, it encases our decision-making processes in layers of rigidity and unresponsiveness. The neurotechnological possibilities on our doorstep may mean that gradually these systems for organizing people can be cast aside. I hope so.
This shift to gestalt reasoning will be seen through all endeavors. As neurotechnological innovator Neurogress points out, its software has applicability to everything from medicine, to art, to robotics, to transport, to entertainment, to how we simply interact with the world at large. It is an all encompassing shift in thought.
Our perception of reality itself will shift
Neurotechnology interfaces directly with our brains and it is this weird meaty stuff in our heads which assembles various stimuli into the big lump of happeningness we call ‘reality’. As neurotechnology becomes an active contributor to our reality, new kinds of inputs will inform and enrich us. We may even have the opportunity to draw from completely new senses (IR, UV and chemical spectra to name but three) in how we see the world.
We may even have the opportunity to be multiple places at once. Neurogress is working on software that harnesses AI to give us subtle, nuanced control over neurocontrolled devices. Ultimately this could lead to surrogate robots feeding what they see and hear into our minds. Imagine a future where it is quite normal to be gathering sensory data from many locations.
If even a fraction of the potential of neurotechnology culminates, the impact on how we think will be enormous. Neurotechnological innovation is capturing imaginations and changing how we think. It excites people.
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