OK, I’m ready. Bring the chip.
I walked into church the other day, and the organist was running through a stunning rendition of, well, some song I just love. One of my favorites. But I couldn’t place it.
I can’t stand that.
So flip through the hymnal until you find it. Nope. My skills are limited. Play a few bars, and it’ll come to me. Looking at a sheet of paper cold is a bit of a challenge.
So implant the chip in my brain. I want the whole hymnal, and for sure I want the tenor parts underlined. Can you add a small pitch pipe? I need a lot of help.
I suppose the pastor would feel better if implanting the hymnal came with implanting the Bible, so let’s do that too. That would make a lot of life’s discussions more sound, sure and short.
If we’re going down this road, we’ll want all kinds of brain assists. We’d like a little help with the stuff were supposed to have learned in school 40 years ago. Science, poetry, wicked math skills. That would be handy.
But every technological breakthrough starts with utopian promise and ends with grubby reality. The complete works of Shakespeare, downloaded to the brain for instant access, will be free and unused. The complete works of Seinfeld will be just four easy payments of $29.99 and probably come with pop-up ads. Marketers want to be in our heads, and this is as good a way as any.
And I know where this goes.
There’s a reason that, despite long and irregular hours, I don’t record sports. I know I’ll never get to it. What am I going to do, walk around not reading the sports page for days on end because I didn’t watch Tuesday’s game?
If I started in on that, I’d have the entire National Hockey League season recorded and ready to go, unwatched. Forever. There’s never time. After a while, this gets to be a storage issue.
It would be the same with the brain chip. I’m the person who walks into the library looking for one book and walks out with eight. Imagine such a person loose upon the wired world and armed with enhanced brain storage.
“War and Peace.” Go.
“War and Peace” in Russian, plus “Russian for Dummies.” Sure.
The complete history of the cosmos from the big bang to Apollo 11 to the singularity. Gotta have it.
I’ll get to all that stuff this weekend. Or next.
This is just good intentions run amok, and it doesn’t end well. One day your chip runs close to filling up, and your brain – probably in the middle of traffic, a movie or a pleasant meal – forces you to stop and expunge data. This is worse than a weekend of cleaning out the attic.
Maybe the brain chips should be reserved for the right people. If you don’t have it together going in, technology just complicates the mess that you already are.
Follow Jeff Fox on Twitter: @FoxEJC