To date we’ve spent a number of posts exploring the possible downside of a technology like EMPATHY becoming commonplace in our world. In this post, however, I’d like to flip the narrative and examine the potential benefits of being able to access the internet directly in one’s mind. From there, we’ll take a look at how a technology like this improves lives in the EMPATHY universe as well.
Those who have brain-computer interfaces like EMPATHY will be in a position to have access to information or other computer-related resources in the most direct way imaginable, removing the need to go somewhere or to have some kind of device on hand to do research, be in touch with others, or just surf the web.
For people who don’t have computers or internet-connected mobile devices at home, the brain-computer interface would also reduce the need to go to the library to specifically use the internet (we love our libraries, though; there are plenty of reasons to visit that aren’t computing related!).
Granted, there’s a valid argument that those who don’t have computers or mobile devices readily available might be in that situation not as a result of choice, but rather due to an inability to afford those resources. That’s extremely important to consider (and I did so in this post), but since our goal is to, for at least one post, focus on the positives, we’ll set that aside for now.
In a way an extension of access, speed is another asset of the brain-computer interface. Rather than typing out one’s inquiry and then clicking through or scrolling down a number of pages, with a brain-computer interface like EMPATHY, one can instead simply focus on the curiosity and search for answers without the need to manipulate a machine in the real world.
Similarly, the time required to draft an email or text message would be significantly diminished, enhancing the rate at which we’re able to be in touch with those we care about most and making the workplace more efficient.
Education and Research
As a result of this increased access and speed, it then becomes that much easier to share content, experiences, and data, all of which would be incredibly useful in the fields of education and research.
Think of the in-classroom advancements that have happened over the decades; from slideshows to videos on cassette to internet access in the computer lab before it finally became available in one’s hand, each step has made it easier to learn about locations near and far, and about experiences and cultures that those learning might not otherwise have access to.
As an extension of those advancements, the introduction of the brain-computer interface could lead to a renaissance in the world of education, its applications as boundless as one’s imagination.
Transparency and Accountability
Then of course there’s transparency. If the brain-computer interface were able to maintain records of where people have been and at what time, it could create greater accountability where matters of law are concerned, making it more difficult to lie about one’s location at any given time.
Likewise, it could cut down on miscarriages of justice; one may not need to have a witness to back up their alibi if their brain-computer interface were able to verify their location at the time a crime was committed.
Witness testimony could also be more easily corroborated if the brain-computer interface were able to record goings-on as they happened, decreasing instances in which suspects are wrongfully accused of a crime in the first place, and increasing the rate of positive perpetrator identification.
All of the above leaves out the grand prize, the very reason why the EMPATHY series‘ namesake technology was named as such in the first place.
Through the brain-computer interface, one could tap into the full experience of events as they occurred as opposed to merely watching footage of them. Imagine if the brain-computer interface stored the recording party’s full cerebral and bodily response to an incident or event. One wouldn’t need to visit the amusement park to feel the full effects of a roller-coaster ride, or physically spend the night sleeping on the pavement to feel what it might be like to be homeless for an evening. In this way, the cultivation of actual empathy between individuals of diverse backgrounds and experiences might only bring the world closer together.
The Dawn and Beyond
As one might suspect, the above phenomena are at least paid lip service in EMPATHY: Imminent Dawn. With that novel taking place during the first round of human trials for this particular brain-computer interface, however, readers will have to wait until later books to see whether and to what extent EMPATHY’s creator succeeds in fulfilling his ultimate goal of building actual empathy between users.
If you can’t wait until January 2019 for Imminent Dawn‘s release, you can keep an eye on this blog or subscribe to the EMPATHY series newsletter. Of course there’s also the author’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram page as well.