Invisibility is no longer just a topic of fantasy or science fiction; several companies around the world have developed technologies to make it a reality.
Some use a combination of cameras and digital screens to hide stationary objects, while others offer a more sophisticated “invisibility cloak”-type approach.
But which one works best? How does it harness the power of our brains? And what would our world do with this powerful ability?
Once perfected, invisibility technology will first be used for military applications, but what will happen when it finally makes its way to the public?
You’d never be 100% sure you weren’t being watched or followed, unless you had an invisibility cloak of your own, in which case you could probably do just about anything you want without being detected.
What would happen to the moral fabric of society if people were able to act on their impulses without consequence? The desire to be invisible has been a staple of Western culture for milennia, from Plato’s “Republic” right up to modern science fiction.
But what does this desire to become invisible say about us as a species? What is it about invisibility that we’re all so eager to take advantage of? Well, before we go down that rabbit hole, let’s take a look at how we can make it a reality after all these years.
In order to understand what could make an object invisible, we must first wrap our heads around what made it visible in the first place. When you see an object, what you’re really seeing is your brain’s interpretation of the light that bounces off of it.
So, in order to make something invisible, all you have to do is disrupt that process. One of the most promising methods of doing so involves something called metamaterials, which are human-made materials that can effect light in ways that natural materials can’t.
If you were to wrap an object in these materials, they could capture light coming in from one direction and bend it around the object, giving the appearance that it isn’t there at all.
Right now, this technology has only been tested on tiny objects, but one company, Hyperstealth, claims to have expanded that to full-on military uniforms that not only remove your visual and thermal signatures, but also your shadow.
So if these claims are true, and invisibility is right around the corner, what would you do with it? It’s funny, there are so many opportunities to help the world with this ability: you could become a super hero of sorts, gaining an upper hand on criminals, or you could sneak into closed quarters to reveal the secrets of corrupt governments and corporations.
But those aren’t the first thoughts that come to the minds of most people when presented with the prospect of invisibility. Instead, most people think of unethical things like scaring people, spying on their crush, or stealing things.
In fact, all you have to do is look at the anonymity of the internet to get an idea of how people would behave if they weren’t held responsible for their actions.
Maybe it’s a good thing that human invisibility is still a distant prospect, since being recognized might be the only thing keeping us in line.
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