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How much are we like Star Trek’s most fearsome baddie? We certainly don’t look the part, but just how much do we have in common?
So who are the Borg anyway? The Borg are a massive collective of heavily cybernetically altered species with no individuality whatsoever, with the exception of one or perhaps more Borg queens who bring order to chaos by controlling the Borg drones. All drones are linked to the ‘hive mind’ the collective sharing of minds into a single consciousness, serving and driving the goals of the entire population. They seek perfection by forcibly ‘assimilating’ other species, technologies and knowledge.
(A drone of Klingon origin, as if they weren’t menacing enough)
It’s a grim thought, being assimilated into gigantic cyber-beehive. Luckily it’s all just pure (science)fiction, but is there even the slightest chance that we’re headed into that direction?
Evolution is the process that has shaped mankind into the species it is today, but with all our technology, “survival of the fittest” and natural selection don’t seem to apply anymore. However human evolution itself has evolved beyond the notion that individuals survive through a beneficial genetic mutation while others without the mutation don’t. Today the physically handicapped can move around in electric wheelchairs and people with bad eyesight can be treated with laser surgery. Even mind controlled robotic prostheses are no longer a thing of the future. It seems that nowadays it’s no longer the survivability of individuals within our species, but that of the species itself that defines evolution. It’s no longer genetic mutations, but technology that adapts us to live longer happier lives.
If the Borg have taught us anything, it’s that technology can go overboard and start to consume a species rather than the species consuming technology. It’s a process that, in our information age era, has already taken it’s first steps, more specifically with the coming of social media like Facebook and Twitter. We use those websites to express our individuality and share our thoughts and ideas with the world. Does that make them hive minds? Those thoughts and ideas aren’t just our own anymore. We adopt them and use them to reshape our own individuality to the point of many people developing a similar identity. It’s still far from the Borg level of a collective conciousness through technology, but much like them we can’t stand being unlinked to it. In a recent Dutch study at the University of Maastricht, they found that a whopping 70% of teens are addicted to their smartphones and showed classic signs of addiction when faced with situations in which they did not have their smartphone with them.
So we are increasingly dependant on computers. The next step in our evolution would logically be to integrate them into ourselves. Google (as always) is already on the case. Google Glass inventor Sebastian Thrun’s vision for his invention is to eventually make it possible to outsource brain functions to the small wearable computer, provided that you wear it 24/7. Transforming thoughts into data is quite interesting(and profitable), as it would allow us to instantly communicate with anyone anywhere, much in the same way the Borg do.
The idea of having all those Borg implants may seem outlandish, but replacing organs with foolproof artificial ones and enhancing our senses with technology is something mankind does strive for in it’s own quest for perfection.
(I don’t think “We are Google, resistance to this ad is futile” would ever really catch on)
So we are actually somewhat like the Borg, but If we don’t want to ever actually become them, we should question technology as it develops, as they’re no longer just handy tools, but a step in our modern day evolution.