Season four’s “Slide by Wire”: Maggie’s double quietly slides with our team of Sliders and leaves our Maggie Beckett on an alternate world. The parallel universe she’s left on is very advanced in technology and strong in the aspect of military defense. The Soviets are on the rise, while Americans have their fighter pilots wired with computer chips implanted in the side of their necks. It gives them a tactical advantage in the aerial battlefield.
Sounds too far to be true? Well, the other day I come upon an interesting article about Google wanting to implant computer chips in our brains. The article was posted in the UK’s “The Independent”. It details Google’s advancing technologies such as Google Glass, it’s downfalls and benefits. It goes on to talk about brain implants as well, “Where will it end? Gomes agrees that a chip embedded in the brain is far from a sci-fi fantasy. “Already people are beginning to experiment with handicapped people for manoeuvring their wheelchairs,” he says. “They are getting a few senses of direction with the wheelchair but getting from there to actual words is a long ways off. We have to do this in the brain a lot better to make that interaction possible. We have impatience for that to happen but the pieces of technology have to develop.” Source: The Independent. Yes it’s really old news in many ways, yet as the technology continues to advance it’s becoming more of a reality.
In “Slide By Wire” Maggie explains that the chip is essentially to keep the information the brain can’t store since it’s being overloaded with other data. She even explains “there’s no where I could go where they couldn’t track me down.” On this world planes are so advanced humans can’t fly them. “The computers take over whatever functions my brain has lost.” The chip is basically a storage drive for the brain, and without it the body essentially becomes disconnected from the brain.
But the kicker is why isn’t drone technology used? They key to remember is that there is nearly always a human element that cannot be replicated by a computer. Perhaps it’s the element of moral decision making. In our world there are some who are shying away with Google Glass, and the same may go with brain chip implants. However as time goes along sympathy will likely rise in favor of brain chip implants. Even if it’s doesn’t, you better be well sure the military will use this to advance it’s defenses just like in “Slide By Wire” to enhance a soldier… a Supersoldier.
Trust me there’s still things like this that make season four of Sliders relevant. Need I remind you, the previous episode “Net Worth” exemplifies a Google Glass type headset, with a need to always be “online”. In the episode Joanne explains “I just eyeball a virtual display of icons, look to select, blink to click. It’s easy. Any questions, I just ask my Knowbot.” Need I say more? Ok Glass!
In the end, the computer chip implants in “Slide by Wire” prove to be deadly. It even destroys relationships and causes a debate between man and machine. Maggie and her husband Steven decide to start anew with their relationship void of the life changing implant. Does it matter to Maggie’s military superiors it causes hardship? Hardly. Will it to our own? Or will we just be unwilling subjects to the cause and trends at hand? The key to remember is: “Technology is just a tool. Neither good, nor evil. It depends of how you use it.” – Quinn Mallory