Moved from VirtualReality
and brutally edited
All that is assuming VR will be limited to external optical effects. EM fields can directly effect the thought process, so I find no reason why that principle won't be developed further to produce currently fantastic ideas such as VR helmets which allow a person to believe they are in another multi-dimensional world. It won't cause eyestrain, but certainly it may cause other problems and those will be dealt with in time.
Why not just claim that the eyestrain will be solved "in time" with some magic happy pills to be developed "Real Soon Now (tm)". VR is VaporWare
Just because VR is vaporware doesn't mean we shouldn't consider alternatives to the current theories of making it work. Electronic 'mind-reading' isn't sci-fi anymore and the technology is getting better. If the idea is so grating to your frontal lobes, then perhaps you should still be scoffing at the impossibility of 'travelling to the stars' or some such rubbish.
It certainly is science-fiction. What we have currently by way of brain-state reading is as far from what you've suggested (individual qualia reading and writing) as the space shuttle is from the starship Enterprise. And I'm not interested in "warp fields" when discussing space travel.
Had you suggested tapping into the optic nerve, I would have merely scorned the idea of such an invasive and delicate surgical procedure. You chose to deviate into scifi instead.
When something is being both researched and developed it becomes science-fact, not fiction. The use of EEGs and similar devices to detect states of thought in the human brain aren't faerie tales. The detection and manipulation of human thought through electronic means is very much in developement and therefore no more sci-fi than quantum computing. Just because something is a whisper (vaporware) doesn't mean it isn't there. It just means it hasn't been released out of the lab.
As far as tapping into the optic nerve is concerned, that wouldn't allow for an immersive experience. At the least, one would have to not only tap into the brain stem as well as several other nerve centers including the optic nerve, but a switch would have to be used to reroute the impulses from the brain to the rest of the body and instead into whatever device is regulating the VR experience. It's also been suggested in fiction that the human brain itself might be the regulating device for such experiences, but something would still need to be available to link one brain to another and the less intrusive this is, the better, which is precisely why I've suggested the emerging technologies that are using EM fields to both read the impulses from a person's brain and send signals to the brain. (TransHumanists? apparently don't see a problem with all this.)
I'm not interested in fighting legalisms. Virtual reality is precisely as immersive as I mean the word to be, no more and no less. Being immersed in a 2 1/2 D visual environment is more than enough to call that virtual reality, no need to tap into the brain stem or anything else. Contrariwise, accessing an artificial environment through a computer monitor is not
sufficiently immersive to qualify as VR.
There are certain things that just will never, ever happen despite their being theoretically possible. For example,
- FTL will never, ever happen. Not because of any violations of the laws of physics, which you can always get around. But because it would be a massive violation of the FermiParadox.
- Humans going to other stars will also never, ever happen. Not because of any theoretical impossibility but simply as a crude consequence of economics and the implications of the rise of AI.
- Mind-reading will never, ever happen. Not because of the fatal noise and interpretation problems, nor even the fatal subjectivity problem. No, rather because it violates DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork. There is no conceivable application for which mind-reading is the simplest thing that could possibly work.
And then there's the fact that a judicious appraisal of mind-reading technology makes it seem pretty much absurd. Even if the noise problem weren't simply staggering, there's the fact that the human brain isn't holographic; you can't reconstruct its internal 3D structure from an image of EM activity projected on the skull. And that's without even going into the complete and utter lack of an economic case for the technology.
Because by the time we get the external mind-reading technology you were referring to, we'll be able to disassemble a complete brain and simulate it on a computer. Assuming we'll human beings will survive long enough for that to happen. So that's the second strike you got going against you.
The transhumanists are all wankers, incapable of a serious critical assessment of possibilities. They're the kind of idiots that believe in UtilityFog
. What they think is irrelevant.
- January 2012
- Mind-reading program translates brain activity into words - Research paves the way for brain implants that would translate the thoughts of people who have lost power of speech