In Star Trek, Mr. Spock could space his fingers on someone’s head and achieve a “mind meld,” in which his mind and that of his subject would merge. Now a researcher is saying that by 2050 technology will allow us all to achieve “brain to brain communication,” making language obsolete.
So says the article Humans Could Abandon Words and Communicate Using Only Our Brains by 2050:
In just 32 years, humans won’t speak to each other, and will communicate through a worldwide consciousness instead – using just our brains. . . .
Called HIBA, which stands for Hybrid Intelligence Biometric Avatar, it will take on the personas of its users, exchange information with them and become part of the very fabric of the human brain.
The collective consciousness was unveiled at The Museum of the Future, as part of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
Research into AI estimates human beings will have the ability to be linked by the collective consciousness by 2050, which can merge with people “anywhere and any time”.
The UAE launched its Artificial Intelligence Strategy in October last year, and is at the forefront of research in the field. . . .
Marko Karjnovic, the producer of the exhibit, said the ‘hybrid intelligence’ was a representation of what the UAE was expecting AI to become. . . .
“HIBA will have the ability to connect the minds of the most clever of us, combining those minds with everything it can find out practically and put it all together in hybrid intelligence.”
The technology will enable people to use “brain to brain communication” anywhere on the planet. . . .
According to the UAE research, it will be more effective than verbal communication and will “enable people to connect with friends, family or business owners in a more profound manner”.
Now there are lots of reasons to be highly skeptical. The article quotes Marko Karjnovic as saying that the technology would be a more sophisticated version of what is currently being done with Alexa and Google Assistant, and we know how well that works. And a research project of the United Arab Emirates presented at a World Government Summit should also raise red flags.Also, in general, people posing as scientists who speak of apocalyptic developments and go so far as to set a specific date should be trusted no more than Christian prophets who predict a specific date for Christ’s return.
But let’s say that this mind melding technology would work. Could it really replace language? And, if it could, would that be a good thing?
First of all, thought requires language. Otherwise, all we would have is impressions, feelings, disconnected fragments of imagination, and vagaries. We couldn’t focus our minds and our thinking without some kind of language. We couldn’t invent an update to HIBA unless we could talk about it.
But let’s say that it could replace language, that we could achieve a perfect melding with another person’s mind, that, indeed, we could meld with everyone’s mind all at once, forming a “collective consciousness.” How would that be?
It would mean the end of distinct human beings. Merging into a vast collective would mean the end of individual identity, just as a drop of water ceases to exist when it merges into the ocean. (To use a C. S. Lewis analogy.)
Notice how language makes possible both individuality and communion with others. We can choose what we say, as well as what we keep to ourselves. We can express ourselves, while still protecting ourselves. Language lets us connect with other individuals. Becoming one with everyone makes actual relationships impossible, while language makes them real. With language, privacy is possible, but so is friendship, so is love, so is culture, which comprises everyone who speaks the same language.
Underlying this miraculous gift of language is the Word of God, the logos that defines the structure of all things, when God spoke them into existence.
God speaks to us by means of language, expressing Himself to us in His Word, and we can speak to Him in our prayers and worship. Thus we can have a relationship with Him.
Extinguishing individuals by meshing them into a vast collective is the dream of eastern and New Age religions. And it is the dream of totalitarians. No wonder the concept is being promoted at the World Government Summit.
Photo, “Mind Meld,” by Brian Moon, via Flickr, Creative Commons License