Sunday, December 14, 2008

"These Dreams Go On When I Close My Eyes" - Heart

Using song lyrics as the title of posts seems to be catching on ... it works for lacochran and Fiona, anyhow, so I figured I might as well try it to introduce this frightening topic: according to this article from Agence France Presse, some Japanese researchers claim to have created a technology that could eventually display people's thoughts and dreams on a computer screen.

This is probably not a good thing.

You may recall a 1983 film called Brainstorm, in which scientists developed just such a device for recording a person's experiences. One of the most interesting scenes in the movie was when one of the scientists took a tape that had been made while a couple was having sex, made a loop out of the ... um ... climactic moment, then hooked himself up to the playback machine and turned himself into a twitching, drooling idiot as he experienced the orgasm over and over and over.

I, too, have been known to be turned into a twitching, drooling idiot by sex; nevertheless, Agnes still keeps me around because I can fix computer problems, chop onions and garlic, and recover items from high shelves.

But I digress.

Would I want to be able to record my thoughts and memories so that they could be played back like the VHS of a B movie? I don't think so. Although I spend most of my time thinking lofty thoughts that would, if properly focused and not diluted by my procrastination, eventually yield me a Nobel Prize or some other such honor, I have also been known to think less charitable thoughts...like ruminating on the questionable ancestry of some of the morons I meet, or the utter ineptitude of our political classes, or even boobies (thanks to Rima, Mike, and Fiona). Would I want someone many years hence to be able to browse dusty shelves of tapes and be able to play back the twisted thoughts that might have been recorded when my guard was down? I don't think so.

Of course, the device works by recording brain activity, and there are those who would argue that my brain isn't actually active long enough at a time to create a useful baseline, so perhaps I'm safe after all.

But why take the chance that someone might turn it on while I'm thinking about rubbing suntan lotion onto a Playboy Playmate of the Month instead of while I'm thinking about ways to rescue the economy?

I have a legacy to protect, of course, meager though it may be.

I think I'll stay away from Japanese research labs for a while.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

P.S. - I was distracted while writing this by the gorgeous sunrise outside my study window. This picture doesn't really do it justice, but it's the best I could do while half awake...

6 comments:

KKTSews said...

As a parent of a teenager, one of these brain recording devices might help me understand her world better...but I don't think I'm up to it.
Love the sunrise. Yesterday AM before sunrise there was a beautiful moon-set. Full moon glowing bright because it was so clear and cold. Freakin' cold (14 degrees). Nice to take a moment to appreciate nature's beauty in this season.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I know 'Brainsorm', as it was Natalie Wood's last movie.

Mike said...

"This is probably not a good thing."

This statement can not be emphasized enough. Repeatedly emphasized, over and over.

As far as the picture of the sunrise. So that's what they look like. I've been retired for so long I'd forgotten.

Amanda said...

I definitely don't want anybody browsing through my thoughts or memories!


Richard arrives in a couple of days I probably won't be able to get on the internet again before we're back in Palembang so I wanted to leave a "Merry Christmas" here.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

That is a gorgeous sunrise. And since I've been scarce these last few days I want to thank you for the beautiful card. You truly have a lovely family.

anOCgirl said...

wow. that is a pretty picture. if the actual was much better than the pic, then i imagine the view was awesome.