As technology has advanced, humanity has developed a fascination with integrating it into the human body. Science fiction writers have imagined both the positive and negative consequences of imagined technologies such as brain implants or brain microchips. Now that companies such as Neuralink are working to make brain microchips a reality, society is faced with the same questions raised by sci-fi writers such as William Gibson, who featured brain implant technology prominently in his seminal classic Neuromancer.
Because ideas about brain microchips have entered the mainstream consciousness, most citizens have developed an awareness of the technology’s potential to erode social ties, freedom, and humanity. As a survey by renowned focus group research company and survey data collector John Zogby Strategies demonstrates, society errs on the side of caution when confronted with the dangers of brain microchips. 77% of survey respondents believed that “microchip implants will be used to usher in a never-before-seen level of totalitarian control,” and 67% of respondents decided that merging with AI was an objectionable proposition. 56% of respondents also believed that brain microchips would erode the social fabric.
Since brain microchip technology is uncharted territory, it is difficult to predict if these negative effects will be the inevitable result of introducing microchips to society. The technology has not been tested enough to paint an accurate picture of its capabilities. If successful, brain microchips have the potential to transform society, so both caution and optimism are necessary for successfully implementing this technology in this present day and age.