I Want My Google Implant, and I Want It Now

Oct 17, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Blog, End Times

A recent WSJ article talks about how Steve Jobs used the apple—archetype of human fallenness and failure—and “turned it into a sign of promise and progress.”

That bitten apple [logo] was just one of Steve Jobs’ many touches of genius, capturing the promise of technology in a single glance. The philosopher Albert Borgmann has observed that technology promises to relieve us of the burden of being merely human, of being finite creatures in a harsh and unyielding world. The biblical story of the Fall pronounced a curse upon human work—“cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” All technology implicitly promises to reverse the curse, easing the burden of creaturely existence. (Italics mine)

That thinking is reflected in a recent article on The Atlantic. The author, Arikia Millikan of Wired.com, writes about the conversation she and her boss, Nate Silver, had with Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, about the Google of 2020.

…we mused about the things the future of Google might produce, one such thing being a “Google implant” that would allow one to browse the Web simply by thinking.

Nate: What will Google look like in 2020?

Hal: Now you google things on your computer—of course. And you google things on your phone. That’s the next stage. And I believe—people may laugh—but I think there will be an implant. So you’ll have it there, and I won’t say it’s necessarily Google, I’ll say the Web, it will access the Web of information.

Arikia: Sign me up when that happens.

Hal: You want your implant?

Arikia: I want it now.

[laughter]

Hal: Yeah! Right, see? There are a lot of people that say that. I think you will be continuously connected to the Web in 2020. You’ll be able to pull information in, information out, you’ll be able to record information. And you can do all these things now; you’re recording this conversation and you can play it back later.

Nate: Sure. But you think that soon, by 2020?

Hal: 2020! That’s away 10 years! Look at where we are, and look at where we were 10 years ago. Google’s only 10 years old. So uh, yeah, I think so. We’ll certainly have some kind of implant interface by then, in my opinion.

Will You be Assimilated?

It’s not the first time Google’s talked about the possibility of having information wired directly to our brains. In a 2008 article, The Atlantic reported the following:

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the gifted young men who founded Google while pursuing doctoral degrees in computer science at Stanford, speak frequently of their desire to turn their search engine into an artificial intelligence, a HAL-like machine that might be connected directly to our brains.

“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.”

In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.”

With such a device, you could be at the grocery store, filling your cart, and when you’re ready to check out, the implant allows you to go online and complete the purchase, just like we do on Amazon—except you won’t need to be in front of a computer.

Suppose this was the only way you could buy or sell?

Maybe browsing the Web “simply by thinking” seems too far-fetched. Suppose, instead, that our smart phones and computers were programmed to connect to our implant and “authorize” us to go online? Just like your Bluetooth headset connects to your phone, the implant connects to your device and logs you on.

What’s in Your Wallet?

The technology to shop using your cell phone already exists. With barcode reader software, you can scan each item with your phone as you up fill your cart. And when you’re done, you can use Google Wallet to complete the transaction. By entering your password in their mobile app, then tapping the device against a reader machine, the machine communicates with your credit card company and approves the payment. No unloading and loading items at the checkout counter. No cashiers. No supermarket employees putting bags back into your cart.

Without an implant, not only would you be prevented from buying anything, you couldn’t even go online—like having a computer without a router or modem. What if the youth of tomorrow were told, “No more Facebook, no more YouTube, no more texting, no more email … unless you take this implant …”? What if the youth of today were told that?

What will most surprise us is how dependent we will be on what the Machine knows—about us and about what we want to know. We already find it easier to Google something a second or third time rather than remember it ourselves.

The more we teach this megacomputer, the more it will assume responsibility for our knowing. It will become our memory. Then it will become our identity. In 2015 many people, when divorced from the Machine, won’t feel like themselves—as if they’d had a lobotomy.

We Are the Web, WIRED Magazine, Issue 13.08, August 2005

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. – Rev. 13:16-17

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