"Mind/Brain-Net" -- How the Internet Might Evolve & Why It's Dangerous
Updated: Jan 28
Imagine the internet, but instead of visual data, it would be composed of thoughts. Instead of writing or videoing, people would be able to know directly what you are thinking, and these thoughts would be saved in this new internet for all to see, or to hack. Instead of writing or speaking, all one would have to do is to think, as a direct way to transfer information to the whole world.
Imagine people spying on your thoughts every day, every minute, like some people could spy on you and me in this internet.
This new technology would be named Mind-Net or a "Brainternet", and it would break the final frontier of our privacy, of our stream of consciousness which we choose not to share with the world. With the power of the brainternet, nothing would be private anymore. Every thought would be heard or seen, potentially, by millions if not billions of people. There would be nothing else to hide, even if you attempt to hide it.
It is all because the same logic and fault of the physical internet would be applied to its alternative counterpart. If you'll want to protect your brain from spies, you'll have to buy an anti-virus program just like you may do today. If you'll want to conceal where you are at all times, you'll have to afford a VPN for your brain, so people would not be able to track you down using this new internet, whose computer is within your head.
This new technology could have a profound impact on our society. It could lead to a more transparent and open world, where everyone's thoughts are available to everyone else. This could lead to a more honest and truthful world, where people are less likely to lie or deceive each other. That's because it would be harder, if not impossible, to conceal your true thoughts.
However, it could also lead to a world where people are constantly monitored and judged, and where there is no room for privacy or personal space. Spies would be able to track not only your thoughts but also your memories. Should someone be able to hack your brain, they would be able to alter your memory, and thus alter yourself.
Assuming that our personalities exists in our brains as well, a brain-hacker would be able to change and alter your personality from the comfort of his or her undisclosed location.
It is important to think about the potential implications of Mind-Net/Brainternet before it becomes a reality. We need to decide whether we want to live in a world where our thoughts are constantly exposed to others, or whether we want to preserve some degree of privacy.
Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) or Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is a technology that can transfer thoughts into actions and orders unto devices outside your body. It is currently used by handicapped people and scientists, but it has the potential to become a basic product for many people across the globe.
However, there should be a limit on how much we let technology invade our lives. The evolution of BMI into Mind-Net could mean that there would be nothing more to protect from invasive inspection by anyone.
Do we really want to be so technologically advanced at the cost of the final frontier of our privacy -- our thoughts? Everything on the internet can be penetrated by different means of hacking, but our unspoken thoughts are still safe from view.
Technology, when too advanced, can be very dangerous. It may be dangerous today, too, but a potential Mind-Net can mean the end to our privacy and disconnection from the media. With such unspeakable power over humanity, nothing else would be hidden from view. Technology therefore should be restricted in the name of our rights!
Even if technology is not restricted, we should use our minds before accepting every new technological innovation into our lives. I call it the progression fallacy. As the saying goes, not all glitters is gold, and when our thoughts can be read by the world, that's when our privacy will fully be breached.
Did you know your computer's camera can be accessed without you knowing? It means that with each second, even if you theoretically have good anti-virus, someone, somewhere, could be watching your every move. What they can't watch, however, is your thoughts.
That's what makes the realm of thoughts so "holy" -- the fact that only you have the key to open it and reveal it to the world. Although there are some sources that claim telepathy exist, I as a philosopher chooses to doubt it.
On the internet, you could write whatever you want, and people might believe of your honesty. However, with each word you're sharing to the internet, you might be lying, pretending. How can you know when someone is lying online? If they're good enough in lying, you can't, because you don't have access to their thoughts. You can at least try your luck, though, although that would be hard.
This is a good thing, because it means that the other person gets their privacy, even if it means they'll continue lying, which might be immoral. But at least they -- and everyone else -- might be safe as long as you're not releasing overly-sensitive content for the world to view.
The concept of "Brain-net", while innovative beyond what we have now, is not only dangerous to our privacy, but also unnecessary. Why do we need such a thing when we already have the internet? The fact that there's something new on the shelves that we can buy, doesn't mean we should. There shouldn't be no shame in being satisfied with what we already have. Why should our thoughts be revealed to the public without us filtering it using our hands, our rationality?
Once we have a "Brain-net" and it becomes as popular as the internet, then that's it: there is no more privacy left for the modern man or woman. It isn't enough that our devices tell others where we currently are, it isn't enough that we're encouraged to share every detail in our lives to the world, now our thoughts are to be exposed?
Well, that would also include our emotions, given that our emotions are in the brain as well. It means that relationships could be ruined if, for example an hacker would steal data from your emotions and publish it online for the world to see what you feel (and don't feel) towards people. Wives would know that husbands don't really love them. Friendships would crumble under the realization that your "friend" isn't your friend but someone with ulterior motives. Covert psychopaths and narcissists would be revealed, but also spies of different governments.
Even I, as someone who is more open than others, am feeling uncomfortable with the idea that my unfiltered thoughts will become public. Why? Why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't you? When I use a keyboard or record a video, at least I need to press the "share" button beforehand. If I'm using a microphone, at least I get to choose what to say, and if it's a video then I can get to take several attempts before uploading.
The problem with thoughts, however, is that they can exist randomly and it's far more difficult to moderate them on our own. It is our external behavior that filters these thoughts. Imagine "pink elephants." Now try to not think of a single pink elephant for at least 10, 15 seconds. Think you've succeeded? The mind is like a wild beast, waiting to be tamed by us.
The mind is, therefore, too dangerous for us (and maybe for others as well) to be directly recorded. Instead of a "pink elephant," it could be an intimate secret of yours, a confession you haven't made yet, or a crime you have committed, or any other thing that puts you in a light you don't want to be put on.
Would you, after all of this, accept to have your brain recorded, just for global communication which is already possible regardless?
Finally, should the brain be identical or almost identical to a computer in its functionality, then we will be able to alter our personalities from a switch of a button. Our personality traits can be reduced in value to computer files, and of course, these files can be removed as well as toyed with. Hackers would have the ability to gaslight you by altering your subjective experience of reality. The same goes for your identity as if it was a computer application.
Rogue governments and cyber terrorists groups would be able to brainwash you by installing malware in your brain and design your conciousness according to their will. Religious fanatics with high-tech expertise would be able to silently kill countless people from abroad by shutting complete regions of the brain or even permenantly injuring it beyond repair.
It will create a new generation of anti-virus industries where you will have to afford much of your funds just to keep your brain safe from people who now can easily injure or meddle with it without even having to know you personally.
Just, like, a computer.
Whether or not we desire our brains to be reduced to computer devices that also happen to be the center of our being, with all our thoughts, feelings and emotions involved, is our own, personal prerogative. Since I view my brain as a work tool that I use and sharpen in the name of Philosocom, I see no reason to reduce it to an "organic computer". Why? Because I already have a computer.
As such, beyond helping people with communication and physical disabilities, I don't see much reason to evolve it further. A technology is most effective when it's there to fill in a void. Why do we need to convert our brains to computers where we are surrounded by computers either way nowadays? Like the concept of the metaverse, much of this technology is simply unnecessary beyond our need to diversify the human experience, by trying new things.