While our class was talking to Michael Chorost yesterday, I was struck by what seemed to me a glaring flaw in his plan to integrate human minds with the Internet. Fusing a brain and a microchip is one thing (which has a specific function that only affects you), but connecting your mind to other peoples’ minds could have all sorts of ominous implications. It seems obvious to me that the most dangerous of these problems is the possibility of a virus or hacker infecting the mind as it would an online website.
Chorost presents a compelling idea with good intentions, but it’s too idealistic. The integration of the Internet within the mind would create its own biological organism, and thus be susceptible to viral infection via hacking. The possibility of someone attacking the brain through technological means is too risky to realistically ignore. Although the idea is compelling, the potential dangers involved are enough to outweigh any possibility of success. With the security of our minds at stake, it would be irresponsible to invite that kind of terrible possibility into the realm of reality.
The mind is a private place—it is the only part of ourselves we have completely exclusive access to. Subjecting it to the infinite world of the Internet would sacrifice our ability to exercise full agency over our own brains. Connecting them to the World Wide Web could result in psychological warfare in which our thoughts can be attacked and used against us. With that in mind (hah), I think I will stick to my external means of communication. I’d rather reserve my Internet use for when I am physically at my computer, than subject myself to a mind virus while being bombarded by my social life every minute of every day.