reply to post by VoidHawk
"Unlikely" does not mean Impossible.
As a knowledgeable person, I know better than to deal in absolutes unless I'm dealing with someone on the same footing and I expect to challenge,
with logic and/or a thesis, said absolute.
I think your reasoning is based on current knowledge and techno. What about in 10 or 50 years time?
It is based on current understandings of the brain and available/projected technology.
Here's the thing: Structural Engineering has changed very little since the building of Cathedrals and other massive architectural accomplishments.
The laws governing the involved forces have not changed.
What has changed are the properties and availabilities of building materials. These properties have allowed structures that were previously not
possible in reality (but could still be functionally drawn on paper with: "super-strong yet impossibly light cable." The gap in capability was
linked to the properties of the materials - not a failure to discover the arch or mathematical principles behind suspension bridges.
Similarly, what we do know about the brain and its function precludes the impracticality of many hollywood concepts of cybernetic devices.
Suppose we learn how to alter the way the brain works?
We already can through a number of processes. The brain is a neural network that, if anything, is designed to adapt to the stimuli it receives. This
is, vaguely, a concept known as neural plasticity.
Autism-spectrum 'disorders' are an example of atypical neurological function. People with Asperger's Syndrome, for example, often have incredibly
accurate memories combined with very narrow and peculiar interests. A person with Asperger's may collect cameras, but have no interest in
photography (but be able to recite their serial number and user manual verbatim complete with a page, paragraph, and line index - depending upon the
'severity' of the 'disorder').
Even if it would be possible to create a "plug and play" device for 'neruotypicals'; it would not function with 'neuroatypicals' (a group that
will only grow and be further sub-divided as time goes on and more detailed research about the neurology of our population compiles).
The only practical solution is a device designed to use nearly universal sensory regions of the brain to, itself, co-adapt with the brain to form an
intelligible interface with a digital system.
Even then - things can be a little tricky. There are people in the population who have neurological issues that point to possible individual
differences even in the "basic" senses of sound, sight, etc. Take the increasingly popular "2d glasses" www.2d-glasses.com...
claim (though I'm not sure if research backs it) that about 10% of the population experiences discomfort and/or the inability to watch 3d movies.
This has a neurological base and has to do with how the brain processes information from the eyes. In some people, such as a friend of mine, illness
and the necessary surgery have led to a complete inability to process 3d. A 3d movie with 3d glasses is nothing but noise.
While it may be possible to use MRIs and nanobot technologies to map each individual's neural network over the course of years to allow an implant to
be made and tailored to work almost flawlessly upon installation... that is just not a practical market.
The key limitation to a practical cybernetic implant is the whole process of implanting. So long as people are required to go under the blade - it
will remain a 'repair' and enthusiast application. When one could be injected with nanobots that construct synthetic networks (possibly even an
entire parallel network of digital processors distributed through the brain) out of trace minerals or injected/consumed feed-stock, then cybernetics
become practical as a general market item.
Psychologically, people will not bite too hard on an implant that requires them to stay in the hospital for any length of time.
Technologically - we have the capability, now, for some pretty impressive cybernetic interfaces (of the adaptive variety that I talk about - though a
considerable amount of research has to be done on the subject's individual neurology at present).
And you cant deny that television programs people
In soviet Russia, VCR programs you!
In all seriousness, though - television doesn't program people any differently than social interaction does (though video games can help with spatial
awareness and some other interesting things that are unique in their broad-transfer natures).