I’ll be honest: I haven’t read a lot of science fiction. The first sci fi book I read since childhood was by Alastair Reynolds, who had – among others – the idea of computers inside people’s heads. I’m not 100% sure if they were surgically implanted or injected as nanomachines that swum all up in that business (I just read the latter in Blue Remembered Earth, with the elephants, a new series (yay!) that also has head-computers) so that’s why the two versions.
The Conjoiners in his earlier works, the series Revelation Space, had them installed in their meaty ol’ brains. And I thought this was the coolest thing I’ve ever read. They communicate almost exclusively by thinking in wifi, is probably the most colourful way of explaining it. Probably the most realistic depiction of a hive mind, is what the reviewers said of it.
Except, well, the tech was used only in scientists, and boundary-pushing ones at that. Not sure if the Ultras used the Conjoiners brain-tech, I think they do, but Conjoiners are the ancients in this work, I think, I barely recall all the details.
Anyway, brain computers I can see as a possibly future. I don’t know how they’d do it, they’d probably be limited by size constraints – it’s the human skull after all – and they might not be powerful, although they’d certainly get that way in future. I’ve even seen experimental tech that allows quadriplegics to control computers with a chip in their brain, this was actually on a documentary I think. So we’re looking at it as a possible scenario.
Question is, how would society act when such a thing becomes possible for the masses? Imagine, you could never lose your phone again. Because it’s built into your head!
I imagine the military would be using it waaay before civilians. Scientists, even sooner. The average person? They’d be using their wifi brains to look up cat videos, listicles and porn. And speaking a language that doesn’t resemble anything remotely coherent. Unless drastic measures are taken in the public school system and people have Proper English drilled into them so that society as a whole goes back to Victorian English. That could be an interesting setting for something, and I’m sure I’m not the first to think this.
Meanwhile, I’m writing all this on a failing laptop that’s on its last legs, sort of. It’s giving me new trouble every other week. Alas, I might have to save up for a new one in the near future. Then it’ll just be a couple decades till I’ll be going to a brain surgeon instead of JB Hifi.
I mention all this because, well, I’m writing something that contains brain computers. I don’t want to give too much away, but it involves mechs controlled via Kinect, due to brain computers, and is set on a terraformed Mars. So yes, this goes in the ‘writing stuff’ category.