How Close?

How close are we? I wonder. I once thought virtual reality would really be something. Then the idea of augmented reality in the form of glasses or cell phone cameras with computerized graphical image overlays on the screens sounded like a neat transitional concept. But as publications about neurological interfaces become ever more present across both the book world and news articles, I can't help but wonder how long before internalized integration of all of the senses makes popular headlines more frequently.

Will speech as we know it be necessary with these devices and what will it mean for eyesight when what a computer screen or television displays is directly integrated into internal audio and optical biology? What do we become when we are no longer constrained by memory or by access to answers and only defined by the speed of the questions we think to ask or ideas we bring into existence? What kind of cooling system will it take for that kind of processing power? What kind of security system? What does it mean for individuality if we are as connected as the Borg?

All of these questions have answers, perhaps worked out long ago, written and discussed in the pages of fiction or the halls of philosophical debate, if not sensed in the minds of dreamers. What will it mean when visiting the solar system means linking one’s internal neural computer to some camera orbiting some planet or moon and seeing as a satellite rather than watching some delayed image returning to a screen. What technology will provide instant communication over vast distances? Will the answers lie within the quantum world? What will the experience of synesthesia be when linked to a spectrometer?

Curiosities abound on the edge of this futuristic event-horizon-like setting. What pace will the integration of such technology on a global scale set? What kind of bandwidth is this going to take?

Technology never ceases to amaze me. These are such interesting times indeed. How close to the beginning are we? I suspect a lot closer than some might think.