I’ve been doing this writing thing for quite a long time, especially given that I’m not that old. I’ve interviewed a wide range of people. Producers. Wrestlers. Cage fighters. Financial Advisers. But never someone that made me feel in any way nervous about the quality of my questions and research. Then the interview went ahead, parts one, two and three being behind those links for your perusal.
I was sent the link to the New York Times review of Mike’s book, World Wide Mind. He sounded really interesting, so I pinged his publicist. Didn’t think anything of it – it’s important not to, because the vast majority of interview queries you send out are rarely ever returned with a positive note attached. However, I was given his email and the okay, and I started looking into his writing in a greater level of depth.
Depth is something I’d use to describe the way Mike thinks, and what he thinks about. Imagine having one of your two most important data sources, biologically speaking, taken away from you. Deaf and blind people (and especially the combination of the two) do not have it easy, and you only need remember that all sign-language content on British television is shown at 2-3AM on a Tuesday night to know that.
Luckily for Mike, he had the amazing opportunity to get a cochlear implant, and as a result can now hear well enough to talk to me for the best part of an hour on the phone. That, to me, is justification enough that those who aren’t embracing new technology are seriously holding back the potential of the human race. We have always, always defined our own era by the technology we have used, created, and given to future generations so that they may improve it further or invent their own.
We live in a world where communication is key. If you can’t see, that’s really quite a significant amount of input lost, in the age of the internet. We communicate, the vast majority of the time, through text. I speak to my other half through SMS, IM, even Skype, when we’re not together. We call each other. And perhaps in the next fifty years technology might allow us to simply hear those words before they’re typed, or said. It’s exciting, and I’d like to, in the style of Chorost himself, conduct a thought experiment, with you, the reader.
Say we have a Blackberry concept phone that monitors heart rates. You get a message from your boss asking to see you for a meeting on the Monday morning. It’s a Sunday afternoon, and your BPM’s been low all day. Your boss will see that BPM spike. Is that too far for you? Would you block your heart-rate off? Would you even use the phone?
Then again, what about medical reasons? Could a call to, say, NHS direct be more informative because they’d know you’ve got a significantly elevated heart-rate, and have sent an ambulance to your location even as you’re listing other symptoms?
The increased sharing of personal data will likely lead to better communication, and less privacy. But would you accept the benefits given the sacrifice? Something to think about. Then again, after reading the interview, if you’ve not got a lot to think about, I’d be surprised.