Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mind Control & the Internet

The topic of this entry is based upon the writing by Sue Halpern (2011), "Mind Control & the Internet".

How might the internet be controlling our minds? Directly? Indirectly? By setting our expectations? By becoming our psychic environment? Advertising is one of the key players to answer all these questions. The amount of data that is now captured when individuals are online provides marketing departments with an abundance of information that can be used to target very specific markets, acting before we do from past experience, making people aware of products they might not have ever searched for directly (Halpern, 2011). 
Are neural implants the way of the future? Would you have neural implants inserted? Under what conditions? Brain-interface technology will most likely have applications in the future for people with disabilities who cannot move limbs and will move robotic devices or prosthesis with their mind, such as the Braingate system. Microscopic sensors or neural dust is another technology currently in research stages,  and can record the equivalent of electrical signals of neurons. I would only try implants if I had a debilitating disability that made my life cumbersome for myself and other people.
Does Google's personalisation of our internet interaction assist us? Or is it exploitation? Does it deny our freedom or is it all part of being a collective? How is it affecting the climate change debate? It is both. Data is taken form everyone but only a percentage of people use the information and applications that Google can provide. Much of the data is used for business income. They create more freedom within the context of the internet and digital connectivity and provide solutions to be more collective as a culture, but this does not apply to people who desire freedom in nature, away from the digital world. Digital products save trees but produce e-waste, the climate change debate is more accessible to everyone who has internet access. People are living in areas that experience dramatic environmental changes and can let the world know of their problems while engaging people to receive support.
Is commercialization destroying the web or is the web improving the way we do business? with education people are free to choose the way in which they engage with the internet. Online business is hugely successful and provides a competitive edge for people who realize the future if digital business. People are able to look at business and their products before they decide to buy or visit a store or restaurant. Many people will not use many businesses now that don’t have an online presence.
Will Moore's law give out in 2015? What will happen then? not likely, but there is no definite outcome. Some people think 2020-2022 when chip-sets reduce to about 7-5nM, with the cost-benefit unlikely to take circuits any smaller. Once the size of circuits using current CMOS technology has reduced to the smallest viable size, then technology research will perhaps focus on bettering existing technology and moving to different materials that will allow further advancements – such as nano-ribbons for example. 
Or perhaps you can. Researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne, created a 0.1 nanometer transistor from a single phosphorus atom in 2012. "To me, this is the physical limit of Moore's Law," said Gerhard Kilmeck, Director of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology at Purdue and a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We can't make it smaller than this." There's plenty of scope to improve tomorrow's processors that we haven't talked about - parallelism offers ways of scaling up processing power without the need for new chips, while it can be argued that raw processing power is now less important than power efficiency. Software can be rewritten, I/O and memory can be tweaked. Further into the future, there's the prospect of tunnel transistors, photonics and quantum computing.

By then, perhaps Moore's Law will be adjusted to fit a new technology landscape. Or we may never see its like again. We'll leave the last word to DARPA's Robert Colwell, who points out that "when Moore's Law stops, it will be economics that stops it, not physics. So keep your eye on the money."

Halpern, Sue (2011) "Mind Control & the Internet", New York Review of Books June 23.

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