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Is Elon Musk's Brainphone Really A Good Idea?

Rafi is a technologist and has a passion to write about not only technology but also what he likes doing outside of technology.

is-elon-musks-brainphone-really-a-good-idea

Not too long ago someone predicted that "Soon, humans will have more electrical components and machines will have more biological components."

Elon Musk, the famous businessman, has just revealed his brainphone project that will usher in an era of simulated reality. This would be similar to what some have seen in “Matrix” where humans are connected to a computer system awakened by artificial intelligence.

The Brainphone technology is designed to implant a smartphone-like device in your brain to help you do superhuman things, such as interacting with machines without the need for input devices, communicating with people via your thoughts, having a new skill downloaded into your brain, where you will instantly learn and use it.

Let's explore brainphone technology. It has benefits and cautions that you should know before getting too excited or scared.

is-elon-musks-brainphone-really-a-good-idea

What is Brainphone?

As a matter of fact, a Brainphone device is like a wireless headset that consists of various parts such as a battery, an inductive charger, Bluetooth, and electrodes.

According to a report: “The device is designed to be implanted in the skull by setting the thin wires of it a few millimetres into the surface of the brain. The implanted wires then emit signals to make neurons fire”.

The procedure will be as easy as getting your ear pierced and will eventually be available at stores and ultimately cheap enough for all to afford.

Unlike Mr Neo in the movie "The Matrix," you will not have to take a red pill to figure out how deep the rabbit hole goes, because you will already be living willingly in a simulated reality.

How Will You Be Manipulated to Have a Brainphone Implanted?

Initially, a brainphone implant will be presented as an option. But you will probably succumb to social pressure, as people around you will be having it done. It will be difficult to live with the feeling of being left out. Fear of missing out, or FOMO (feeling that you're missing out - that others are doing) will be used as a powerful persuasion tool to encourage everyone to get a brainphone implant.

With the widespread use of laptops and smartphones for communication, the decision to get a brainphone will be an easy one for most of our generation. What could be better for them than using the brainphone technology to make video calling, texting, photographing, and searching on the Web super easier while driving, walking in the street, or cycling to home?

Another scenario to sell the idea of a brainphone would be to make your life very hard without one. You might be required to have one as a security measure to assure the office is accessible to you and communication can take place in case of an emergency. It might be the only way you would be able to do online shopping, getting public services, eating out in restaurants, and travelling. Without the implant, your life might be incredibly tough.

The most likely scenario is that there will one day be a pandemic like Covid19 which will debilitate millions of people around the world. The brainphone, which has the capability to rewire your brain on the fly, will be presented as the cure. And suddenly those who resisted the idea of having an implant in their brains will embrace it with an open mind and healthy attitude.

What Does Brainphone Technology Offer?

With a brainphone in place in your brain, you can see the internet all around you. Without much effort, you choose which pages to scroll over and select menus by controlling the device with your thoughts. Not only that but make connections to other people who have brainphones. Here are some more promising offerings:

Multitasking Will Be More Productive

It is hard for humans to do two things simultaneously. Research suggests that if one task requires high-level function then the other task will suffer, meaning that the human brain is not good at doing both tasks at once. However, you can do multiple tasks simultaneously when you have a brainphone in your head and your attention will not be split, resulting in more productivity.

For example, you can drive with an interactive map overlay in your vision, and you can talk, text or video call your friends or read a newspaper without ever losing sight of the road while driving. You can take photos, record videos, and save them all without the need for physical interactions with your device/app. You can simply think about what you want to do, and your device will record your thoughts.

Getting New Skills Instantly

You are travelling to Rome, but you don’t speak Italian. Do not worry, you can purchase and download the Italian language set via your brainphone directly into your memory, and you are able to understand, read, write and speak the language in seconds.

You can instantly learn any skill you need, such as cooking, car repair, or self-defence by just ordering it through the Web and getting it downloaded by your brainphone directly into your mind. And you are ready to go.

Social Media Will Be on a Whole New Level

Social media will be quite different from what it currently is as brainphones enable you to engage with other people on a whole new level. You and your friends with brainphones can connect and share each other’s thoughts, opinions, and life experiences. This can provide deep insights into the lives of others, which are more valuable than ever with society currently on the Internet.

For example, you might be missing your girlfriend while on a business trip to London. If you both have brainphones, you can enjoy a virtual night along the River Thames in London.

Getting Life-Changing Gains

A brainphone implant in your head can modify your brain to cure any mental illness you may have. For example, mental illness treatment programs managed through brainphones will rewire your brain to eliminate epilepsy and many other disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer by boosting or calming normal brain activity so that the disorder is automatically controlled.

Brain programming administered via your brainphone can permanently change bad habits such as binge eating, smoking, or being sedentary by wiping away those obsessive tendencies that lead to forming them.

The Caveats of Owning a Brainphone

The downside of having a brainphone is likely to be horrendous. With constant connectivity to the Web, social media, and to the thoughts of others, even when you are sleeping, you will find yourself being collectively judged or monitored by your family, friends, work colleagues and government agencies. Besides, powerful entities might be able to access your thoughts to change or delete them without your knowledge if they find you as a person of their interest.

Impact on Human Evolution

Expanding on the idea of how a hypothetical future world where brainphone is available could change us as a human, it is worth considering how smartphones have already had a transformative effect on our society.

According to a study, young people who use their smartphones and social media late into the night are having a negative impact on their health. They are not getting enough sleep and it is causing them physical as well as mental health problems. They are 50% more likely to be clinically depressed. They are also more likely to feel lonely and useless and view themselves as failures. A recent study suggests that teens who use smartphones constantly for longer periods of time have a higher risk of suicide. It seems that a lack of smartphones in pre-smartphone generations is correlated with a lower rate of mental health issues across the board.

As your brainphone interacts with the mind functions that control the growth of your body, health, and well-being. You might notice dramatic changes in appearance or personality.

For example, if you experience a consistently negative or harmful personality change, it might change your face such as eyes might get wider with fear, or your lips get dried with constant stress. Not only that, but you might also be more physically and mentally stressed than you are today.

As you spend long periods of time tapping into your brainphone, you might display all kinds of severe deformations. Being aware of your condition, you may want to find a place to access your devices, where other people who have similar conditions are using their brainphones.

Another problem with today's smartphones is that they will surely become more addictive the more people have them implanted. Most smartphone users are too addicted to their devices, and this is taking its toll on their well-being. They are robbing themselves of the ability to live life fully which is also affecting their health. Besides, that kind of addiction leads to people losing their jobs, friends, and family.

It is important to distinguish between simply craving your smartphone for its many features or applications and being in a phase of addiction. However, there will be no moment of realization to step back and turn yourself away from what is causing your brainphone addiction because the source of addiction is attached. You could never ever give up technology addiction, while connected to such a device.

Impact on Human Culture

Today's smartphones are always on and connected to the internet 24/7. They connect with others, giving you the benefits of connecting with people all around the world at any time. This has meant a wide range of benefits, but also a risk of being tracked by your friends, family, colleagues, organizations. government agencies and criminals. Also, your data may be of interest to a powerful entity, who may want to use it for their own means. This could be anything, from keeping tabs on you to monitoring your activities or conversations. You have no say in what happens with your data.

If you have a brainphone in your head that is always on and connected, everyone from the office to the home will be able to listen in to what you really think and feel. People will find it hard to separate their minds from their own thoughts that they might not want everyone else to know about. This would be bad for human culture, especially for an innate need in you- to belong and be accepted.

If one of the parties while making a deal has a plan to not honour the deal later, the other party will instantly know. That sounds great, but as lying becomes more difficult, so does the ability to use social tactics and diplomacy. Besides, you will not be able to deal with situations diplomatically anymore. Imagine your boss wearing an odd suit and asks you, "How do I look in this new suit?" you may find it difficult to politely say "You look great in that suit," The boss will find you lying as soon as he gets instant thoughts from people around him.

is-elon-musks-brainphone-really-a-good-idea

The Hive Mentality

Somewhat, today’s technology has already brought us closer to collective, hive-mind behaviour. "Hive mind" is a term used to describe the collective thoughts, ideas, and opinions of a group of people (connected to each other's thoughts via the Web) regarded as functioning together as a single mind.

Social media is encouraging a "callout and cancel" culture. Information is instant, which is great. But it also cultivates conflicts with hive minds where people hurl complaints at each other or make inconsequential digs without thinking about the impact on the targeted party.

Callout culture is a phenomenon where people can be criticized or shamed publicly at any time for saying anything, even something well-intentioned but misconstrued by the public. The rush to judgment is not always based on all the facts. Sometimes, there are no facts at all and yet people lose their jobs and reputations because of the Hive mentality. The situation could even be worse as brainphone technology will allow us to constantly be plugged into other people's thoughts.

Cancel culture aims to not only shame someone online but also discourage others to do business with them. For example, if a business is cancelled, people start boycotting its products and persuade others, through social media to do the same. It is possible to become the victim of cancel culture, and this could happen for a number of reasons. For example, if you are a celebrity with a publicized misdeed in your past or if you engage in controversial behaviour at work like disregarding their company's values.

Now imagine what cancel culture would be like when everyone is connected to your thoughts. People will be able to tell if you are affiliated with "cancelled" companies. They will know if you have done business with them lately. If they see anything in your brain they don't approve of, they might just "cancel" you too.

Some philosophies claim that truth and reality exist independently of human thought. It will be interesting to see if we can ever find external truths or realities when everyone is in each other's minds. When the Hive will make the decision and it is hard to predict what that could be - this can cause a disaster if they decide something completely opposite to a proven fact.

Conclusion

Though brainphone technology does offer some promising benefits, it also has several downsides. There are physical, psychological, and cultural consequences. Living in a society with brainphones means there will be no individuality. The Hive would dictate what is appropriate and shame you if you don't follow their rules. The right to privacy and expression will be lost.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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