As artificial intelligence creates large-scale unemployment, some professionals are attempting to maintain intellectual parity by adding microchips to their brains. Even aside from career worries, it’s not difficult to understand the appeal of merging with A.I. After all, if enhancement leads to superintelligence and extreme longevity, isn’t it better than the alternative — the inevitable degeneration of the brain and body?
At the Center for Mind Design in Manhattan, customers will soon be able to choose from a variety of brain enhancements: Human Calculator promises to give you savant-level mathematical abilities; Zen Garden can make you calmer and more efficient. It is also rumored that if clinical trials go as planned, customers will soon be able to purchase an enhancement bundle called Merge — a series of enhancements allowing customers to gradually augment and transfer all of their mental functions to the cloud over a period of five years.
Unfortunately, these brain chips may fail to do their job for two philosophical reasons. The first involves the nature of consciousness. Notice that as you read this, it feels like something to be you — you are having conscious experience. You are feeling bodily sensations, hearing background noise, seeing the words on the page. Without consciousness, experience itself simply wouldn’t exist.