When the Alter Ego Takes Over

In your head, in your head? Robots, robots, robo-o-ots

The Massachussetts Institute of Techonology recently came up with a wearable gadget, the AlterEgo, that allows one to “silently converse” with a computing system. How? The device detects neuromuscular signals generated by thoughts through the medium of electrodes.

“The motivation for this was to build an IA device — an intelligence-augmentation device. Our idea was: could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?” says MIT research assistant Arnav Kapur. The main idea is to fuse the digital world with our human mind. This device allows one to focus on the present because it gives one the answers to their questions instantly without having to switch realities.

How great is science? Finally, the very infamous Big Brother, our most feared “fictional” character, has access to our every single thought. Knowing our location, our social circle and our interests is not enough; he is in our heads. Through the excuse of convenience, they will be able to surveil our not so innocent but naive minds. We’ve grown so lazy to the point that we’d rather have a constant whisperer in our ears than achieving things independently.
Also, this device could potentially lead to the degradation of our intelligence, as have all of our other digital gadgets. Our IQ has diminished with time. With all the answers by our side, there is no longer the need to think or process information because all of it is given. In order to learn, we need to face our ignorance. After all, it is through our mistakes that we learn, so we must take risks. Ignorance, the risk of offending, curiosity and passion are all necessary.

With a gadget constantly present in our lives, interaction between humans will not be as necessary as before. We won’t be able to question nor discuss things; the beauty of interaction is to be able to fuse multiple, personal thoughts together. By doing that, we create relationships with people. Also, we improve as people. Our individuality, creativity and imagination come from exploration. When all the answers are an ear away, there is no exploration. As we say, it is the not the destination that matters but the journey (shoutout to T.S Eliot).

The AlterEgo threatens our privacy, one of the main concerns of today’s society.

All in all, lots of people think of science as the light in their souls, but, as far as I know, it is the beginning of a very dark era.

Image Source: Flickr


Rathuja Sivasubramaniam
Opinions Editor

Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 12 on April 11, 2018

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