Cyborgs are coming to a town near you. The RAND Corporation, an American think tank, has published a paper whose innocuous-sounding title — “Cultural and technological change in the future information environment” — conceals some troubling contents. The report claims that “advances in object connectivity may eventually extend to human bodies”, and that an “internet of bodies” may thereafter lead to an “internet of brains”.

What exactly is an “internet of brains”? Could be cool, right? Nope: try again. The scenario posited by the RAND report, which was commissioned by the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, constitutes a logical endpoint of transhumanism, the belief that technological advances can circumvent the limits of human biology and longevity.

The timeframe suggested for the emergence of this neural ecosystem is between 2035 and 2050, and the paper cites developments in tracking implants such as biochips and sensors, “sensory augmentation technologies” such as hearing implants and smart prosthetics, and brain-computer interfaces. All well and good if you’re in control of the interface; less so if you’re on the receiving end of any cerebral manipulation.