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  • I've always wanted to share the stage with a creepy skull mannequin, by the way.

  • That's just fantastic.

  • When I was younger,

  • although not quite so young that I should really not have known better,

  • I sent one of the most harsh messages I've ever sent in my life.

  • I'm going to share it with you now.

  • I'm not proud of it, but here it is:

  • “I've blocked you everywhere else,

  • and now I'm going to block you here too.

  • My only regret is that I can't block you in real life.”

  • Past me was a dick.

  • I couldn't block them in real life, right?

  • Because they were still in the same social circles,

  • They were still going to get invited to the same events,

  • still going to be part of the same things,

  • and it's going to be awkward,

  • particularly after I send a message like that.

  • And some folks would say that I should just get used to it,

  • that I should just be at the peace with the fact that some people are just jerks,

  • and some personalities clash, but I thought,

  • what if instead: we use technology to fix that.

  • So my proposal for you tonight is: blocking in real life.

  • Which has been done in science fiction, right?

  • This is from Black Mirror.

  • But the trouble with science fiction blocking

  • is that they have to make it work on camera,

  • and that means inevitably it's a messy fuzz of pixels or something like that,

  • and that's not useful, that's not helpful.

  • Because a messy block of pixels can still see you,

  • and you can still see it,

  • and it can still punch you in the face.

  • So that's not great.

  • But we do have an algorithm for this that will already work,

  • and Photoshop has it, it's called content-aware fill,

  • and it's the

  • Woo!” from a Photoshop user there!

  • Although given this audience,

  • possibly the man who created the feature, we don't know.

  • I was actually originally in that photograph.

  • There I am, that's the original.

  • But nowadays it's trivial to just find an object,

  • paint it out, and there you go.

  • And if you didn't have those two identical bushes

  • right there in the middle,

  • you might not even spot that I was never there in the first place.

  • Now, Facebook already has facial recognition for people, right?

  • So in theory, you get a photohere's one of me and some friends.

  • You get a photo,

  • you could highlight the person,

  • and you could paint them

  • Yes, well it doesn't…

  • It does go a little bit Cronenberg sometimes.

  • But in the next few decades we're going to figure out how to make

  • much, much deeper connections into the brain.

  • We're already starting to see some things like this.

  • We've been using deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's patients since 2006,

  • that's when that paper was from,

  • and spoiler, or as they insist on calling it here,

  • abstract”…

  • Abstract: it works.

  • And we've already got people controlling robot arms with brain implants,

  • and exoskeletons with EEG caps.

  • Okay, so no-one is actually working on a neural lace yet

  • No, of course Elon Musk is working on a neural lace,

  • because Elon Musk is working on everything that Iain M Banks ever wrote about.

  • So let's say that it works.

  • Let's say that in the next few decades,

  • over the rest of the century,

  • we get something that starts to make deeper and deeper connections into the brain.

  • And to start off with it's going to help

  • an increasingly-aging population to deal with senescence,

  • but eventually it will trickle out to the rest of us.

  • And I'm willing to bet that humanity won't regress into virtual worlds,

  • because virtual worlds are good for gimmicky games, but they're not real.

  • There's no real human interaction there.

  • And sure, the uncanny valley has pretty much been solved, right?

  • That is Johnny Depp playing young Johnny Depp in the latest Pirates movie.

  • But you can't have that for human interaction.

  • I'm willing to bet there's the same uncanny valley effect for talking to someone.

  • You can't simulate a human without simulating something that's very close to human,

  • and that would be unethical, even if it was possible.

  • But you could hijack the vision centre.

  • You could use all those same little tips and tricks

  • that the brain has been using for, well, millions of years of evolution,

  • to just quietly make you not notice things.

  • If you walked here like this,

  • and quietly routed yourself around an obstacle without even seeing it,

  • you're already using those tricks.

  • And yes, I have footnotes.

  • You could just tell your vision centre to quietly remove things, or add things in.

  • You could teleport to a remote office by saying to your implant,

  • or whatever it is, you want to go there.

  • It'd paint your vision with that,

  • and it would paint you into the vision of the people there.

  • But if you can do that,

  • then you can start to remove things as well.

  • Those implants could use the sort of hacks that we've talked about

  • to quietly remove objects, and people, and anything.

  • To start off with, this would just be used on annoyances.

  • It'd be used on the baby that's crying on the plane,

  • it'd be used on the jerk who keeps leering at you at the bus stop every day.

  • But eventually it'd start to roll out and roll out,

  • you'd be able to block someone.

  • You won't appear in their perceptions,

  • and they won't appear in yours.

  • And sure, there are going to be people out there without implants,

  • but increasingly, as it becomes more and more normalised,

  • like smartphones are today,

  • they're going to find themselves in a kind of a twilight zone

  • where a lot of people are ignoring them.

  • The same way that people get better customer service by tweeting someone

  • than they do by calling on a landline.

  • And okay, there are people who are going to try and get around this, right?

  • There are going to be moments of human ingenuity that

  • It was really expensive to get that photo made, by the way,

  • just the skywriting costs alone.

  • But in general, people would be okay with this,

  • because no-one here could tell me the last person who unfriended them on Facebook,

  • not with certainty.

  • Because you can't remember everyone you're friends with,

  • and you don't check every day, and it doesn't notify you,

  • and it's not particularly offensive when it happens.

  • They're just not appearing anymore,

  • you've just forgotten about them.

  • So once we're happy with that,

  • the technology can start getting better, and better, and better.

  • It can start blocking objects and concepts and ideas,

  • and it can start to just automatically work out the things

  • that your brain flinches away from and automatically start to block them.

  • And people will start sharing block lists, right?

  • It won't be monolithic,

  • it won't be brought in from on high,

  • but you will just tend to block the same things your friends block,

  • because if you don't, you keep noticing the elephant in the room,

  • and you keep being the awkward one at the dinner party

  • who keeps talking about things that people don't understand.

  • Or alternatively your friend is,

  • and will you please shut up about that, Dave,

  • we don't know what you mean!

  • Literally, we don't know what you mean.

  • People, shops, homes, offices, entire cities just quietly erased.

  • Imagine crowds of people just sliding past each other on the street,

  • just by unspoken, unknown, mutual consensus, just removing each other.

  • I mean, China Miéville talked about this in his book 'The City & the City', right?

  • But those two cities were divided by tradition, and etiquette,

  • and occasional violent retribution,

  • and tourists just had to fit inthere'd be none of that.

  • Instead of going to war,

  • feuding nations could just block each other.

  • And their citizens' implants would be legally mandated

  • to just quietly edit the other country out.

  • Maybe it gets to the point where you don't know the other world exists

  • until you're an adult.

  • Maybe children are just kept from it,

  • because you don't want to talk to those people.

  • Until then it's just a rumour,

  • it's just bumps in the night and explanations for ghost stories.

  • And then you get to being 18, or 21, or whatever,

  • and you have a look in the other world to see what it's like,

  • and it's terrible.

  • Never ever want to go back there.

  • They'll say there are people who've blocked everyone,

  • and we'll never know for sure.

  • But I could look out at a full house like this

  • and not know if my eyes are gliding over the people from another world.

  • Maybe there's someone else on stage and I'm just walking and talking around them,

  • because that's what my implant lets me do.

  • Which means there is one little question left over:

  • what happens when you edit out the idea of implants from people who have implants?

  • Because there are going to be people who hate the idea.

  • Maybe they were fitted with them from birth.

  • Maybe they were given them for work and have to have them, but they hate the idea

  • that the thing that is heading through their eyes into their brain isn't reality.

  • And how would that be any different from me being on this stage right now

  • telling a story and you immediately dismissing this as science fiction?

  • Ignore that itch behind your ear, it's probably nothing.

  • My name's Tom Scott, have a good night.

  • MATT PARKER: All right!

  • There's your camera...

  • Tom Scott, ladies and gentlemen!

  • My goodness.

I've always wanted to share the stage with a creepy skull mannequin, by the way.

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リアルで人をブロックする。トム・スコット、「不必要な詳細の夕べ」で (Blocking People in Real Life: Tom Scott at An Evening of Unnecessary Detail)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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