Thursday, January 16, 2014

Is The Borg about something happening to us?

It is central to the global transformation taking place bigger than ever. Like it or not, we are becoming more digitally connected. For some baby boomers, the loss of privacy has felt like a displacement. We prefer face to face contact. Others relish hours in chat rooms typing to “anonymous” people identified by “nicks.” I see people almost everywhere connected by devices.

We’ve got a world of Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter accounts. We’ve got millions of bloggers. We pick and choose the news we prefer to read. We follow the buzz and what’s trending. A few times though, I’ve wondered if this new digital age in which we live is producing an unintended outcome---a collectivization of the mind. I mean a global mind that hampers individuality. I’m going out on a limb. We’re not The Borg of Star Trek fame. The e-mail and social networking capacities provide significant leverage for individuals to be themselves to a greater audience than ever. So what am I trying to say?  Part of it is that privacy has been eliminated. Digital bread crumbs follow everybody using a cell phone. The Spokeo app allows access to virtually anyone. LinkedIn toots work accomplishments. Twitter allows you to follow trends on hot topics in 17 different countries.

This gets me thinking about The Borg. Star Trek fans already know. The Borg were a frightening interstellar species of cyborgs that consumed other species to incorporate the technology of that species within the Borg to enlarge its capacity. “…every Borg brain in contact with every other Borg brain at all times. They share a group mind---a kind of organic internet accessed with thoughts instead of computers.” The digital world accomplishes wonders and is used for great good. But is the human urge to connect and to know leading us astray?

The fact is scientists are developing a brain implant (chip) that will connect a person with the internet.  Estimated time of completion is 2020.
By Steven Yates, Star Trek and Collectivism: The Case of the Borg
Star Trek Shows What a Society Ruled by the Collective Mind Would Look Like
April 1, 1997

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