Just this week, Facebook announced that they are aiming to create a new paradigm of virtual reality with neural interfaces that will potentially change the way we interact with computers, other humans, artificial intelligence, and sexual beings, real and virtual. Facebook’s connection to human relationships and sexuality itself can not be under exaggerated.
Remember, Facebook started out as a way for college kids to find each other to hook up. More than that, it was a way for college kids to figure out who was fucking who. At least, this was what “The Social Network” portrayed. So with this in mind, we can already assume that Facebook has changed how human relationships form and how human sexuality itself emerges.
Their new neural interface is just another step in this direction.
Excepting now, with billions of dollars of research funding, Facebook can afford to explore and scientifically study human relationships. Instead of only focusing on understanding human-human relationships, their newest research appears to be focused on understanding human-machine relationships. When considering machines as tools, our relationship history can be regarded as a long and arduous history of relations.
History of Relations
As I previously described, when considering human-machine relationships as human-tool relationships, we can see that a long history exists. In the case of stone tool technology, the relationship between human and tool required an anatomical trait, the precision grip. The grip is required for the tool even to exist. Because humans have the precision grip that allows them to hold stones in a certain way, we can say that people interface with matter, to produce tools and thereby create relationships with objects.
Facebook’s research essentially is attempting to understand and locate a precision grip that exists within the brain itself. They believe that finding key neural structures (which can be analogically compared to the precision grip) will allow us to directly interface with computers. Their goal, to create a neural interface, can be understood as a quest to find and create perhaps the ultimate human-tool relationship, a relationship that will allow us to directly communicate our ideas, thoughts, and intentions to hardware and, consequently, software.
A Key Element of Existence
Even without archaeological evidence like Oldowan tools, most philosophers and anthropologists agree that human relationships with tools have always been a key aspect of human existence. The philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that humans are tool-beings – creatures that exist perpetually in relationships with tools.
Heidegger argued that when efficiently working with tools, our relationships with them becomes so strong, that the tools themselves often disappear and feel like they are part of our bodies. Think about when you become really good at riding a bike. After awhile, it starts to feel instinctual to control and instinctively easy to maneuver. After creating a relationship with the bike, riding requires very little forethought or contemplation.
Heidegger thought that this phenomenon was a key aspect of human psychological existence. Facebook’s goal is very similar to the phenomena that Heidegger described. That said, their first goals are singularly focused on issues that VR users have to face. In particular, keyboard use.
You know how it sucks to type when you are watching a virtual reality porn because you can’t see your keyboard and it slows down your whole wack-session?
Their neural interface is an attempt to eliminate controllers and keyboards while allowing us to instinctively and intuitively interact without keyboards. Facebook says that they are creating “a system capable of typing 100 words-per-minute straight from your brain.” Just this little step will make your browsing 1000 times better than it is now. Beyond browsing, interacting with adult AI’s or VR webcam stars will not only be possible but intuitive and easy. You will just have to think, I love your babylons and she will know!