Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Sci-Fi in the Not-So-Distant Future?
Paul Pangero gives us a great definition of cybernetics: "It's about steering and getting to the goal...the loop of acting, sensing, and steering towards the goal is essential." (Pangero, 2012) This can lead us into a discussion regarding the idea of ‘Hybrid Humans': both an exciting and a scary one. Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google, recently predicted that in the 2030s human “brains will be able to connect directly to the cloud” which will “augment our existing intelligence.” (CNNMoney, 2015) Also, the company SoftBank stated three years ago that, “the number of transistors on a circuit will exceed the number of brain cells in a human brain by 2018” and will continue to grow by factors in the 100s by 2040 and 1000s by 2300. (CNNMoneyTech, 2012) The 'goal' here is to act to receive information, sensing if we received the correct information, and correcting the action if needed. Whether through our own brains or cybernetics, it is essentially the same goal.
Hybrid humans may be closer than we think. After all, look at the technology we already have in place: when someone asks me a question, I tend to grab my phone, Google it, and within a few seconds can generally track down the answer. Isn’t the next logical step to ‘hardwire’ that request for information into our brains, allowing me to simply think the phrase, “Google, what is the capital of England?” and receive the answer instantaneously? Apple could command virtually any price for an offering of an endless stream of information delivered to you wirelessly and with no more effort than simply thinking about something.
No more 'spur-of-the-moments'?
Of course, with every new technology comes the fear of losing our humanity. An article by Chris Matyszczyk asks the reader, “When our thoughts and feelings are predicted in advance by the great algorithm in the sky, where’s our spontaneity?” (Matyszczyk, 2015) Indeed, many of today’s applications (spellcheck, predictive texting) are programmed in such a way as to make an educated guess as to what we will do next. If we put our full trust in the cloud to make decisions for us, will we someday find ourselves never able to spontaneously take a scenic by-route because we have asked Google Maps to only take the shortest route?
CNNMoney. (2015, June 4). Humans will be Hybrids by 2030. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/03/technology/ray-kurzweil-predictions/index.html
CNNMoneyTech. (2012, March 28). The Hottest Tech of 2015 and Beyond. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/technology/1203/gallery.coolest-tech-2015/7.html?iid=EL
Matyszczyk, C. (2015, June 4). Google exec: Humans will be hybrids by 2030. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/google-exec-humans-will-be-hybrids-by-2030/
Pangaro, Paul. (2012) What is Cybernetics? https://vimeo.com/41776276