Body Electric

A Cicret Bracelet concept from Israel is a startling reminder of how the physical gap between our
body and the Internet is narrowing.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s top executive, made headlines when he told a World Economics Forum, “the Internet will disappear.” Not in the way Google Glass exited the public stage recently for another look-see in the company’s technical and marketing workshops. More like water for fish or air for humans “disappear” until they actually are missing. Even as Schmidt spoke, the world of connected things grew closer to becoming part of us.

Oculus Rift delivered a dramatic look during the Sundance Festival at what virtual reality could do and Microsoft’s HoloLens debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show. Both require a head-mounted device, HoloLens akin to a welder’s mask. VR as AWCom understands it, puts our minds inside the outside world while David Carr in the New York Times sees a HoloLens as imposing a Microsoft construct that shapes what the mind perceives. It is yet another screen (TV, Tablet, Computer, Cell Phone, etc.) between the individual and the reality. Carr fears, “as screens have proliferated, the amount of actual, unencumbered reality we experience seems endangered.” And his fears may be well founded.

This video demonstrates the amazing Graphene material that is stronger than diamonds, more flexible than rubber, thinner than paper, and amazingly conductive. Some day, when we have a better map of our mind’s neural networks, graphene could be slipped under the skin to actually become part of our mental processes, making us all savants, wizards in math and sharing the same moral imperatives:

As we approach a virtual “body electric” Gord Hotchkiss worries in an Online Spin Column, “It will be an odd relationship with technology that will have to develop. Even if we lower our guard on letting machines do much of our  “thinking” (in terms of processing environmental inputs for us) we still have to learn how to give machines guidelines so they know what our intentions are. This raises the question, “How smart do we want machines to become?” Do we want machines that can learn about us over time, without explicit guidance from us? Are we ready for technology that guesses what we want?”

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