Re: Internet Brain Plug

Subject: Re: Internet Brain Plug
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 12:31:56 EST

The concept of an "Internet Brain Plug" can probably be traced to William
Gibson's _Neuromancer_, an SF novel from the early eighties that coined
the word "cyberspace", and inspired much of the current virtual reality craze.

The word "cyberpunk" was coined somewhat later, by a critic whose name I
unfortunately forget, to refer to the literary movement that more or less
started with _Neuromancer_.

While I'll give Gibson credit for cyberspace (a VR representation of
real-world, real-time worldwide connected data), both virtual reality and
brain-machine connections have a long history in science fiction, which
considerably predates _Neuromancer_. Off the top of my head, Clarke's
_The City and the Stars_ (early sixties) and Zelazny's _The Dream Master_
(seventies) both contain virtual reality sequences. Brain plugs I'd have to
research a bit, but I'm pretty sure I've seen ref's in older novels/short
stories (from the sixties/seventies). If nothing else, there's the bionic
man's bionic eye.

The idea of a direct connection with the brain, btw, is a looong way from
any kind of implementation. Sight is the most understood of the senses;
interfacing with touch, hearing, kinesis, and smell are likely to be
even more problematic. VR via suit and goggles is already here, but VR via
plug-in unit is a whole different ball of wax.


Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.

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