An interesting article caught my attention over at IEET, speculating that the most significant technology over the next 20 years will be the interface between our brains and the internet. From this collective intelligence could emerge a ‘Global Mind’, something hypothesized about in much Sci-Fi. I agree that this would be extremely significant, if Artificial General Intelligence does not come about first. IQs would go up dramatically as our connection to ‘source’ becomes more and more intimate. Our sense of self, our identity could expand into the online world. And along with other significant technological advances, we could see progress that makes the industrial revolution look like sand castles.
Would the biological sub-strait, our brains, become a bottleneck, making it harder to compete or be useful without being plugged in? In many cases I have already begun outsourcing my intelligence, I don’t bother working out large math in my head. Would you hire an accountant who did your tax returns using an abacus? It might be novel to watch him do it though.
Second Life at the moment is limited, it is not very realistic. Though at some point we will have real-time rendering of worlds that are completely immersive, and beautiful, and we as individuals may be able to express the nature of these worlds in real-time. It may become so satisfying every way that it forces a mass exodus out of our bodies to storm the gates of utopia.
Will the computational resources being used by the VR be balanced well between individuals or not? (see Permutation City by Greg Egan) This may not be a problem if we refine quantum computing (perhaps via Topological Quantum Computing which avoids decoherence issues). What social formations will arise in anticipation or in response to this pedigree of technology?