Weekend Question: Do you want a brain-machine interface?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: do you want a brain-machine interface? And what games would it be worth using for? Based on Gabe Newell's comment this week about The Matrix being closer to reality than people realize, is that an exciting prospect or a terrifying one?
I think it's still a lot further away than he thinks. Anyway, no, I do not want a brain machine interface. Just give me a better home network so when I ask Alexa to turn on the table lamp I don't get "I'm having trouble connecting to the internet right now" half the time.

Playing Skyrim in the matrix would be epic and trading in one computer generated experience for a superior one is the natural order of gaming evolution. Still, with a matrix-like system it would be way too tempting, and way too easy, to trade in real world experiences I enjoy now that aren't available through even the best virtual device today. Namely biking for me, though any true physical activity will do.

I have a mountain bike (a cheap one). I learned a lot about maintaining and fixing them to keep it in good shape. I ride 10 to 15 miles 2-3 times a week (as weather permits of course). I have no mountains to ride in. It's mostly all flat roads and trails. I had to explore to find a lot of these trails myself as I live in the boondocks. As far as mountain biking goes it's about as basic as one can get, but I love it because it's mine.

It would be too easy to completely abandon my real world biking for a matrix system where I wouldn't have to worry about weather or bicycle maintenance, where I could ride the best trails Colorado or the Whole Enchilada in Utah, and where I wouldn't have to worry about injuries. So no thanks. I like what I earned. My bike, my maintenance knowledge, and each bump, bruise, and scratch (no scars...yet).

Now, if we were to talk about holodecks, well, that's a different story. 👻
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I can see this be the next great thing making communication for mobility-impaired people much more efficient than what we have today. I also believe this could even help blind people be able to see through a virtual world, instead of just small patterns representing an object.
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Dec 15, 2019
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Definitely an exciting prospect, but really far-fetched. Right now, I don't think there's any need for a brain interface anyway, current VR feels like a paradigm shift in the way people are gaming in the same way 3D superseded 2D. Certainly the Oculus S is immersive enough to trick my brain into thinking I'm clinging to a cliff on the Matterhorn, or a T-Rex is going to eat me.

I suppose it's missing a full range of tactile interactions that a brain interface could provide, or smell, even taste. I can't imagine having fun while being torn apart by a zombie in Half-Life though.
Nov 25, 2019
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I would love a brain-machine interface, but technology is only great until it isn't. We still don't have a good handle on VR/AR yet. Self-driving cars are not a thing, and whatever happened to flying cars by 2020?
Tech has a habit of failing in odd ways when we least expect it, and I'd not want to fully rely on it for anything, especially not hooking it up to my mushy li'l organic body.

Heck, this morning I could barely get my rural internet to allow me to join an important work call, while Google was flatly NOPE to my attempts to synch my account. In other words, I don't think our tech is trustworthy enough. I don't expect it in my lifetime, but hey, if I die and can upload my consciousness... I'm all in for that!
Mar 22, 2020
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If your being mentally molested by your local mental health clinic. Hey perfect opportunity to take it one step further. If your already screwed and or born with one what's the big deal those who gotcha, gotcha, and theres no stopping it. Take precautions as you can and first things first check your philosophy, ability, education and if all goes well should be extremely perfect. I'll take one
If you think that Google is listening to your conversations now, because the targeted ads can refer to things you only talked about out loud with one other person one time. Can you imagine what they'd do with access to your actual subconcious.

Make sure you read every word of that EULA. :p

I love the idea in theory but I won't be an early adopter.