I’m not going to go on about Robbie the Robot or even about how Forbidden Planet remains the best science fiction film I’ve ever seen. No, I’m going to start with Dame Wendy Hall, the woman who more or less invented multimedia and hyperlinks on the web. She was the castaway on Desert Island Discs at the weekend and stated that within the next twenty years or so it would be commonplace for internal devices to link us permanently to the web. A chip in the brain, an implant behind the ear, a little something that will give us all the answers whenever we want them without having to rely on a machine to access them.
I’ve heard of this before and there was a time, not that long ago, when I might have scoffed at the idea. Not now though, I’m sure that it will come. After all, I never expected to make phone calls from my car or to be so reliant on a small hand held screen for the management of my life and to be with my friends, and of course I was never going to give up vinyl for compact disc,
When biological linking to the internet does come I wonder what will it will be like to have all that knowledge inside you? Well, game shows are going to be pretty pointless aren’t they? Why watch a programme where the contestants get every question right, always win the million pounds, and everyone, including you, knows the answers anyway? Exams will be a breeze. No need to revise, in fact no need to get an education beyond how to use your internal internet device. We’ll all be able to diagnose and treat our own ailments, defend ourselves in court, know the how to get from A-B without sat-nav, maybe even make a decent curry if we follow one of the millions of recipes that will be in the cookery book inside our heads.
There’s a danger though, let’s call it the Forbidden Planet effect. If Professor Morbius couldn’t cope with the collective subconscious and knowledge of the Krells, then might we, faced with the sum total of all human knowledge - all the good, bad, and downright evil - not share his fate and sink into madness, despair, and self-destruction?
Who knows? Maybe it’ll just be kittens.