Science fiction stories such as the works of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson have imagined worlds where technology seamlessly integrates with the human body. Today, tech companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink are working towards making those ideas a reality. Despite their impressive technological strides, the biggest challenge faced by these companies may be gaining public acceptance.
According to surveys conducted by online focus group service and survey data collector John Zogby Strategies, the vast majority of average citizens are wary and distrustful of brain microchip technology. 77% of respondents believed “microchip implants will be used to usher in a never-before-seen level of totalitarian control.” Furthermore, more than half of respondents (56%) believed brain microchip technology will “destroy the social fabric.” Only 10% believed microchip technology would be effective in improving lives. The idea of technological singularity also unnerves most of the population, with 67% preferring to embrace their humanity and not merge with AI.
Just as the smartphone triggered an information revolution, changing daily lives, brain microchips have the potential to be a landmark event in the history of civilization. These powerful pieces of technology can be used for both great good and disastrous evil. In order to make them a reality, manufacturers must win the public’s trust by establishing ethical and transparent research and production methods. Brain microchips can only revolutionize the world once they are proven to be safe, effective, and enriching. Companies like Neuralink, Neurable, and Kernel should remember this as they strive for continuous innovation.