Ever since about 2001, when human kind began fast- forwarding through the gradually-unfolding history of progress, like someone impatiently zipping through a YouTube clip in search of the best bits, we’ve grown accustomed to machines veering from essential to obsolete in the blink of a trimester. VHS, the Walkman, fax machines, CD-Roms, pagers, dial-up modems . . . all consigned to the same wing of the museum housing the mangle and the horse-drawn plough.
Let’s be honest, in case you’re straightforward, there’s an entire universe of poop routinely effervescing and flying around in your mind that you wouldn’t need a PC to unquestioningly follow up on. Keep in mind: when they triumphantly disclose an iPhone that gives you a chance to dial your sweetheart basically by contemplating their face, don’t be tricked into believing it’s brilliant. It’s an elusive slant. Oppose the mind test. Thicken your skull. Staple a doormat around it if vital. Keep those contemplations caught inside where they have a place. In such a case that the pixie of the brain ever avoids the body and gets its hand legitimately on the controlling wheel, mankind can anticipate a half year of unusual bedlam, at that point doomsday.
The junk mountain grows by the day. If your home is anything like mine, it contains several rarely explored crannies stashed full of archaic chargers, defunct cables, and freshly antiquated gizmos whose sole useful function in 2011 is to make 2005 feel like 1926, simply by looking big and dull and impossibly lumpen. Everyone’s opened a drawer and been startled by the unexpected discovery of an old mobile phone that now resembles an outsized pantomime prop. To think you used to be impressed by this clunky breezeblock. You were like a caveman gawping at a yo-yo.
When mind-controlled computers become a commonplace reality, you’ll have typed and sent that message in the time it takes to stub a toe; as quick as pulling a facial expression, but more detailed, and full of swearwords.
And while your brain might be great at controlling machines, how great are you at controlling your brain? What if, 10 years in the future, you’re watching a cartoon on your futuristic 3D computer television, and the cartoon’s got a rabbit in it, and the rabbit’s slightly coquettish and flirty, and the knowing way it flicks that cotton tail as it hops makes you think about sex momentarily, and before you know it, your brain’s retrieved some disgraceful bestial rabbit porn from the very worst corners of the Ultranet, and is relaying it on the display in lurid 96-inch holographic guttervision just as your wife and kid come back from the shops? And then, drunk on self-destructive power, your computer-mind takes a four-second video-snapshot of your own child’s horrified gasping face and mischievously scribbles a load of penises and swastikas all over it, and uploads this vandalised looping portrait to your 3D holographic Facebook page accompanied by a headline screaming WITNESS MY NADIR – JUDGE ME! JUDGE ME! JUDGE ME ONE AND ALL!