Learn more about how information technology is changing
our lives and our world. PLUS NEWS + EVENTS

My Neural Processor

I wrote a play back in 1992, “Invasion of Cyberspace”, where the heroine had what I called a ‘neural processor’. Basically it was an extra memory bank for contacts and data storage that connected directly into her brain. If only I had one of those today.

I’ve spent much of the past year in bed during pregnancy and recovery from some birth-related complications and using a laptop during this time hasn’t been as easy as it might seem. I can’t quite ever contort myself into the right position and most of them end up painful, so blogging is about the only form of writing that I can withstand – short snippets of writing. E-mail qualifies too, I suppose.

In any case, after spending a lot of time not only in bed resting and also nursing, I’ve done a great deal of thinking that would have been fabulous to document somehow. Sometimes it was an exercise in creating mnemonic devices so I would remember post nursing what I wanted to write but it was never quite the same. When the muse hits, it needs to be written or it’s lost. And sometimes I don’t have a hand free so I can’t write down notes. I just want to think a thought and have it logged. Enter the neural processor.

Just think of it – a way to save all of those contacts for direct access at all times… yeah, I know I can do that from my Treo but not in the dark – the light could wake the baby. And if I’m trying to get to sleep and I just want to record a thought, or if I’ve woken from a dream and want to replay a scene – why can’t we put that stuff on these new terabyte storage drives? What else are they for anyway?

I read an article a few years ago that led me to believe this kind of technology really isn’t that far off. If I recall correctly, there’s a guy who developed something that he was testing on himself that was a chip that somehow connected into his brain actually recording some of his rudimentary thoughts and muscle signals. And I found that British Telecommunications P.L.C.’s ‘Soul Catcher’ is a project that “seeks to develop a computer that can be implanted in the brain to complement human memory and computational skills.”

Papers are already being written on the ethics of the topic. Who cares? It’s my brain that I can fry if I want to! And of course with any avant garde invention, the military (in this case, the Air Force) has to put in their 2 cents for “Cyber Situation Vision” in ‘battlespace’.

I’m sure something like my neural processor will exist in the next fifty years and I’ll probably be an early adopter, but I really wish I had one right now. Just think of it – I could become a pack rat for mental junk. No more forgetting peoples’ birthdays or favorite recipes – it would all be right there at my neuron tips.

Comments

  1. >I have a mobile phone with a decent keyboard, and find that it’s a not half bad companion for capturing thoughts on the go as long as I am willing to totally zone out of this earth’s reality and be one with the handheld.Not a situation you can be in all the time! It does help that it’s small, though, which means it can be there when you’re in a situation where a laptop is unwieldly.I’ve tried to think thoughts and log them at the same time, and it quickly drove me to distraction. It was an excuse for coming up with an endless todo list with no earthly way to accomplish it all! Just page after page or index card after index card of thoughts without any connectedness.

  2. >ed: Did you get sucked into Lion Kimbro’s book & system? How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought you Think? I’ve bounced between an ever present cheapo Palm Zire and a moleskine to capture good on-the-spot ideas.I also wish I had a neural processor, or at least a wearable with a chording keyboard and a monocle. Sometimes, I text myself from my cheapo phone to my email address, to capture one sentence thoughts and mnemonic phrases. But I really wish for more.