- Better knowledge of human brain function
- Microbots that can evade the immune system
- Microbots that can move through brain tissue without causing harm
- Microbots that can link together to from insulated wires, or build insulated wires that are safe in vivo.
- Microbots that can transmit power and information through several layers of nerve and other tissue
The thing is, we're getting there. These are no longer science fiction: the path to each of these abilities is very clear. And when these abilities converge we'll have matrix style give-me-knowledge-now and complete VR. Not to mention brain augmentation. This future is far, far closer than it seems.
When old Yahoo made money from its search engine it did so by pushing paid sites as search results, cluttering up the interface with advertisements, and otherwise being intrusive and unpleasant. And it lacked the self-awareness to change this behavior. Rather than saying, "How can we make things better for the user?" they said, "How can we make more money from the user?" So while better search results was on their radar an interface like Google's just never came up as a possibility. That's why they were blown completely out of the water. Google made money as a search provider without using Yahoo-esque tactics by being the first to do what present social networks are doing (analytics) but more importantly by being a place users wanted to go. Twitter is already doing this successfully. Look at their interface: light, efficient, smooth, and fast. And they're very successful. By limiting user actions now they're eating the seed corn. The'll make more money in the short term but in the long term they're pushing users to less limited places.
But I digress. By "social networking" I meant Facebook-esque networking. Attempts to allow comprehensive social collectives to happen. Facebook has fallen far down the monetization rabbit hole in the same way old Yahoo did. The way Facebook thinks is of where to put ads, how to better manipulate users into sub-optimal decisions (such as mis-click capture), how to make games that will best entangle users
It's a similar situation to the early days of searching. People didn't go to early Yahoo.com to get the things Yahoo wanted to push, people went to search the internet and tolerated having things pushed at them as long as the search was good enough. But as soon as Google offered a good search with minimal advertising the market spoke very loudly about that kind of thing. I feel like there's a pent-up demand in social networking for low friction, low-bullshit connecting of people. The first social network that offers a superior product and doesn't stand in peoples' way will make a killing.
Top-down control of the masses just doesn't work when they have freedom of choice. Google didn't leap to the top of the search market on a giant advertising campaign, they lept to the top because they offered something immensely better than their competitors. They don't mind advertising revenue by using market power to force people into their adwords API, they offer a smoother, better written, more intuitive, and more efficient interface that results in less friction and more profit all around. These are important lessons that Google missed when it tried to make Google Plus happen. To get enough people onto a social network you have to offer a social network that's so damn good people want to go there. People have to want to pay the cost of migration. "This lets me comment on youtube" just doesn't cut it.
Maybe it's impossible with today's technology. Maybe there's just no social networking killer app possible. Or maybe they'll hit on the answer this year. Whatever the case Google Plus was dead from the start.
To trust Microsoft not to abuse this position would be like loaning money to a heroin addict.