Do you regularly interact with individuals who do not have a last name?
Do you regularly interact with individuals who do not have a home address?
Do you regularly interact with individuals who do not have computer access?
Do you regularly interact with individuals who do not have a cellphone or smartphone?
Do you regularly interact with individuals who do not have a social media presence?
Where did you draw your line?
Why specifically did you place it there?
Do we disassociate from those who do not participate in systems below this “cutoff” point because we view them as non-participants in conventional communication, information dissemination/verification, and social validation?
This seems rational to us and within our right to do so. These conventions and organizational constructs have been fundamental building blocks for the advancement of organization, information, knowledge, society, and humanity as a whole.
We collectively hold these as necessary tools for the organization, dissemination, and verification of information and data sets spanning multiple layers of communication and human interaction.
But difficult questions must be asked:
How much longer until we shift this line forward again?
How quickly will the next communication interfaces antiquate our current ones?
Just as the cellphone did to the landline, and the internet did to the newspaper, new systems emerge to overcome the issues and limitations of older systems.
Eventually rendering their predecessors obsolete.
Not today, but much sooner than we may anticipate, new paradigm-shifting systems of communication, information dissemination/verification, and social validation will be viewed as necessary and eventually mandatory requirements for participation in modern societies.
These increasingly complex systems and tools have only existed for a short period of time in recent human history. We currently have technological communication standards, which are virtually obligatory for modern societal participation, that did not exist just a very short time ago.
Just eight years ago, in May of 2011, 83% of American adults owned a cellular phone with 35% owning a smartphone. Today 96% of American adults own a cellphone of some kind. 81% own a smartphone.
These percentages and ratios are exponentially increasing world wide. We would all be quick to label individuals who do not fall into these percentages as the “fringe” or “outsiders”, but we must acknowledge that these individuals do exist.
Singularly we may not actively think about discriminating against these individuals, but collectively we have pushed them aside due to their disadvantages in communication and information access.
Bio-technological integrations and interfaces will very soon become the new standard of communication and multidirectional information transfer that permeates humanity.
Will we finally draw the next line of exclusion at these bio-technological integrations? Specifically Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIʼs).
If you are unfamiliar with Brain Machine Interfaces, please see the following:
Will we render those who can not or do not adopt these new protocols as obsolete individuals?
Is it possible to coexist alongside those who may have physical, cognitive, religious, ethical, and/or philosophical concerns, limitations, and disagreements regarding these systems?
Will we prevent discrimination and protect those who can not or choose not to participate in these systems due to economic inability, physical inability, religious ideology, sociological dissent, ethical dissent, philosophical dissent, etc?
Those who do not adopt tools deemed necessary for the advancement of communication and information transmission have historically been left behind by modern societies.
We must ask ourselves: Are exponential adoption rates sustainable for increasingly complex systems?
Will adoption rates eventually plateau creating a schism within our society?
Possibly humanity? Do we leave behind those who can not/will not adopt these systems?
How do we interact with individuals that operate outside of these systems?
Are we ready to exclude a class of individuals who can not or choose not to participate in systems specifically involving BioTechnological integrations and interfaces?
Specifically BMI's and neural networks. Who will decide what is “necessary” in regards to communication and information access?
Who distinguishes and determines the classification of those deemed disqualified from societal participation?
Are we prepared to face these challenges?
Will we be involved in how these systems affect us and future generations? Will our dialogue, consent, and individual agency have influence on these decisions? Will these decisions be made for us?
Have these decisions already been made? These issues and questions are just another small step into the landscape of Human-Machine Symbiosis in which we have begun to traverse.
What seems like an impossibility today will be reality tomorrow.