No Chip Heads Here

I found the line, the line my intellectually curious, technology savvy, digital native type freshmen won't cross, and it surprised me.

We were talking advances in technology, things that will be obsolete, and their frustration with the terrible track pads on the school issued netbooks. iPads have made them crave touch screens. They look forward to controlling their television with a hand gesture, and they expect speech to text will make typing a thing of the past before they finish college.

Taking the discussion just a bit further, I mentioned that the day would come when a chip in their brain would convert their thoughts directly into whatever device they were operating. They were shocked, horrified, and stunned that I would even suggest something like that. I told them about the disabled woman who recently controlled a robotic arm with her thoughts after doctors added an implant to her brain.

My students thought that was all well and good for someone unable to move their limbs, but they saw no reason for "normal" people to need that kind of thing. Playing devils advocate I suggested that their grand children would likely have no problem with the idea of a brain implant, but they were not swayed. "No one is putting anything in my brain ever!"

In an instant these children, who fully embrace technology and even crave its improvement, became nostalgic for the tech they currently have. In that moment they reminded me very much of my grandmother, who refused to ever have a microwave oven in her house, stubborn, certain and absolute.

I asked them then if they had heard about the Google Glass project. They hadn't and I showed them the video (below). They loved it, wanted it, but were almost immediately discussing the drawbacks of the physical glasses. "A brain implant would solve a lot of that." I mentioned one more time casually, but no dice.  They were firm. They would put up with glasses, phones, remotes and all of the other tech that they would like to see work better as long as no one ever puts a chip in their head. Well, what can you expect?  They were born in the 20th century, just like my grandmother.