Bookstaber is on point as usual in his post about the impact of technology on our lives. His conclusion is obvious to most technologists and futurists, I would bet, and its refreshing to see a policy maker having this in mind. He is far from the first person to note the massive collapse in lifestyle difference between the extremely rich, merely well off and even the middle class. We spend most of our time with the same cheap gadgets and electronic toys (well, most people do). Wealth doesn’t buy you the enormous conveniences and life improvements that it did 100 or even 40 years ago.
As simulation and brain stimulation technology improves exponentially over the next 20-40 years, we will have the ability to cheaply simulate any stimulus we like directly into our brains; the sci-fi dream machine. This is wireheading in a pretty pure form, and most people will eat it up. Just as Africa jumped from lack of electricity directly to cell phones, the emerging middle classes will likely be able to skip Playstations and cocaine directly to total immersion pleasure machines.
The real thing will take a long time to flesh out and come down in price enough for the masses, but here’s an example of where we’re headed in the interim. Not much different in practice.