Thursday, May 17, 2018

Now we’re able to throw our information around willy-nilly, from one device to another, writing to Google Drive on our work computers, back over to our phones, tossing our Pandora stations from the car to the living room. The device no longer matters; the only important thing is the file. The info. We no longer need to have a physical copy of anything. It lives everywhere: in the cloud, on our computer, our tablet.

The noosphere is real.

It’s just a matter of time before the membrane that separates us from all this data is eliminated, and the place where the data ends and we begin becomes completely blurred. Now, we hold a little slab that tells us what we need to know. We shout out to Siri or Alexa to change the music or dim the lights. But what happens when the barriers are gone? When we don’t need a device to access the web - when it’s part of us, whether through some lightweight, indetectable wearable or something more invasive like an implant? What happens when the noosphere is part of us, and we simply have to think something the right way to access the data? What happens to us when all of this info stops appearing to come from outside and just seems like some easily accessible second brain? Do we evolve into homo cyborg? Do we cease to be human? Or is augmenting our humanity part of some greater scheme that happens to all intelligent life in the universe eventually?

I don’t know the answer, but I know how I feel when I see a roomful of people staring at their phones. What will it be like when each of us is even more isolated, wired into a full-blown, 24-7 augmented reality echo chamber?

I just hope our descendants will be able to cope, and to adapt, and to remain creative, innovative and human.

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