Gabe Newell believes brain-computer interfaces will let us edit who we are

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,916   +125
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A hot potato: Elon Musk’s theory that we are probably all living in a simulation that is indistinguishable from base reality might not be as far-fetched as it initially sounded, especially after taking into account recent statements from Valve co-founder Gabe Newell.

In a recent interview with New Zealand’s 1 News, Newell delves deep into the topic of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). Bypassing physical body parts like eyes that limit our ability to experience things and interfacing directly with the brain could open up a whole world of possibilities and make the real world seem “flat, colorless, blurry compared to the experiences that you’ll be able to create in people’s brains.”

“But that’s not where it gets weird,” Newell continues.

The Twilight Zone stuff happens when it becomes possible to edit who you are through a BCI. For example, Newell said one of the early applications he expects to see is something to help with sleep. Instead of taking a pill to help you fall asleep, you’ll simply enter in how long you want to sleep into an app and voila, it’ll happen.

For most, that either sounds incredibly convenient or absolutely terrifying. Newell even concedes that it is weird to talk about, but believes it is inevitable.

If and when brain tech gets to this stage, security will have to be absolutely bulletproof. The consequences of something going wrong here are astronomical and perhaps even too great to ever justify bringing it to market. For example, what happens if you lay down for what you think is a restful eight hours of sleep but a hacker changes it to 80 years? Suddenly, you’re in an Inception situation where you’re living a full lifetime stuck in a dream.

Worse yet, what happens if someone “programs” you to carry out a crime? Who is held accountable for your actions?

Masthead credit agsandrew

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Posts: 688   +774
Yeah, scientists said something like that about PCs, Internet and smartphones - those technologies will improve Us.
Instead, We turned the tools into weapons of self-destruction. We keep our noses in smartphone screens all day, Internet is 70% or more mostly porn, and dumb populistic politicians use it to coerce even dumber rednecks into storming The Capitol.


Posts: 25   +20
If the tendency continues instead of we reach the cyberpunk future we will be flowers in the garden with 0 IQ. Some of us are already close to this level just not admit it :D
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,985   +6,758
I can see a LOT of opportunities for a little CTL-ALT-DEL across the population. Perhaps that would be a good tool for the courts to use when dealing with career criminals ...... or politicians ..... or lawyers (oh wait, we covered that in the first one) .....
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Posts: 581   +498
We get plenty of viruses without a brain chip. The cold, flu, covid19 (for most people, including me, a minor nuisance) are all viruses. We don't need exposure to more.
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Posts: 521   +355
I can see a LOT of opportunities for a little CTL-ALT-DEL across the population. Perhaps that would be a good tool for the courts to use when dealing with career criminals ...... or politicians ..... or lawyers (oh wait, we covered that in the first one) .....
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Posts: 881   +1,106
TechSpot Elite
This, and besides, would You trust a guy that cannot count to three?
I'm just curious if Gabe and Valve know how to make games anymore, or if they're going to sit back on their Steam platform and do noth... Oh wait. They haven't made a full game with the exception of HL: Alyx in 7 years.

I'd like to see a AAA release instead of heresay on theoretical technology that in reality, won't pan out in the way they're theorizing anyways!
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Posts: 48   +76
When I read these predictions I remember the quote "If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn't"

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Avro Arrow

Posts: 839   +962
TechSpot Elite
This would be great! I could edit out my strong urges to hit stupid people in the head with a 5kg sledgehammer! :laughing:

However, if this is a simulation, I demand a better software developer!
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Posts: 8   +3
Someone mention the possibility of a brain hack? Ghost in the Shell? Program a human to kill? Sleep indefinitely or a specified amount of time OTHER than what they specified?

Yeah... Sleeper killers.... Turn on the cameras in your mind and examine all your thoughts and perhaps memories.... Thought Police ramped up... don't like your attitude, views, actions, or potential actions on something? Reprogram the offender.

The world of Sci-Fi and reality could get so blurred, yeah... Minority Report (on a different level), Inception, Ghost In The Shell, The Matrix... A government that doesn't like anything but blind sheep....

Years ago, pure Sci-Fi... Now entering "tinfoil hat" and reality as this stuff actually gets developed.