Seeing Through the Eyes of Another.

Zachariah Boyle

From the revolutionary cyberpunk novel Neuromancer:

"I haven't got a clue. Know I'm fitting Moll for a broadcast rig, though, so it's probably her sensorium you'll access." The Finn scratched his chin. "So now you get to find out just how tight those jeans are, huh?" [page 53]

The abrupt jolt into other flesh. Matrix gone, a wave of sound and color . . . . She was moving through a crowded street, past stalls vending discount software . . . . . . "How you doing, Case?" He heard the words and felt her form them. She slid a hand into her jacket, a fingertip encircling a nipple under warm silk. The sensation made him catch his breath. She laughed. But the link was one-way. He had no way to reply. [page 56]

Gibson's invention of cyberspace, the alternate reality, can be tough to visualize. Stephenson, in Snow Crash, seems to solidify this into "The Street", his particular interpretation of cyberspace. Even more difficult to imagine is accessing someone's senses throught the medium of cyberspace: "jacking in", as Case does, and then hitting "the switch" to be thrown into someone else's brain. Feeling them walk. Gaze controlled by another. Tating the food they eat. Hearing words as they exit mouths, disturbing the air molecules around them, reaching the ears of the person you inhabit at the moment.

I can't help but speculate on the potentials this opens up for espionage. Nowadays, a person is "wired up" with a microphone and transmitter attached to their body by means of adhesive tape. A quick, yet careful patdown is enough to give the presence of recording apparatus away. What if the means of transmission was surgically imbedded in their brain, though? I speculate that the primitive beginnings of this cybernetic technology will originate with devices picking up limited image or audio from brain patterns.

Of course, with the advent of this technology, apparatus designed to counter it will pop up, as well. Just as there are bug detectors and jammers, there will be "brain jammers" as well. Or, a quick x-ray or specialized sliver of microsoft to detect it, as found in the pages of Neuromancer when the adolescent desk attendant tells Molly she can't enter with a "Rider" (Case's conciousness) present in her mind. I can imagine that clever scientists would disguise the transmitter and neurologic equipment as something else - a vision-enhancing apparatus, microsoft hardware, or something of the like.

This topic is similar to the "Cyborgs" section of this discssion, in which I show that this sort of technology has already begun on animals. However, the transmission from the animal is still at the stage where it is from an external apparatus, not within the brain. Go to it here.