So we've done an interview with the great William Gibson, author of Neuromancer. His book anticipated the internet, except plugged directly into a person's brain instead of into their computer. People were inspired by this then, and they're inspired now. But would you do it?
It's clear from even the most cursory glance a Harry Potter fan sites, or Star Trek conventions, or Rule 34, that people sometimes want to totally immerse themselves in the genre they love. We look for many different ways to be lost in a narrative or even just an aesthetic. In Neuromancer, "the meat" of a person's body is sometimes looked at as something disgusting - forcing them away from the perfect play of the mind and imagination.
The internet, which began as a perfect way to exchange information, has become host to many such fantasy worlds. It has both embodied and borrowed from Gibson's novel, but it hasn't actually become a brain-machine interface. Yet. And it is a "yet," that we're talking about. People already have plenty of brain-machine interfaces. Cochlear implants are so safe and normal that they're plugged into the heads of babies. People who are missing a limb are given artificial arms that respond to the signals from their minds. People who can't move have machines that respond to directed thought. There can't be a lack of people who would be willing to sign up to test a perfectly-immersive shared space pumped right into the brain.
But would you be one of them? I have to admit, the temptation for a fully-built world would be great. I think I'd enjoy it - even if it's some people's definition of the end of human interaction. But then again, it's my brain. People who are excited by a literal life of the mind would have to buy into that life by risking the most valuable thing they have.
What do you say? First to sign up? Only post beta-testing?
If you'd like to see our full interview with William Gibson - check it out right here!