The Double-Edged Sword

Techology continues to promise near-miraculous benefits, while threatening unimaginable abuses. Sony has just been granted a patent for a technique to beam sensory information directly into the brain.

This could end up being the cure for blindness, deafness, and a host of other maladies. On the other hand, such things could also be used maliciously. Imagine if a dictator were to use a large-scale device of this kind to produce rapturous experiences in his citizens when he addresses them, creating a whole new cult of the god-king. Or it could just as easily be used to inflict pain on his enemies.

On another note, it seems inevitable that such devices could take pornographic materials to a whole new level. I can't remember where I read it, but there was a statement going around to the effect that once antisocial men can have a better time locked in their rooms than they can have with real women, we are going to see a demographic implosion unlike any other.

It's things like this that make it so important to have a societal value system. The libertarian credo is breaking down, just because people are more and more likely to act in ways that, though they do not cause direct harm to another, will be ruinous to society. In order for a society to survive in a world of effectively infinite technology, we must have a social framework to guide our actions. Otherwise, society will simply break apart, and is already in the process of doing so.

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