Social life is defined by connections, and more than ever, the fabric of our social lives are woven digitally. Before the Internet picked up speed, local hubs like neighborhoods, churches, and community centers provided a variety of opportunities to develop relationships. Today, people often connect through social networks, where users exchange the familiarity of physical proximity for the transparency of real-time availability and exposure. But whether through physical or digital connections, there is a price to be paid for this togetherness.

Anyone concerned about increased surveillance in society has probably questioned whether sacrificing privacy is worth the perception of greater security. Just as this loss can be justified in the face of physical harm, so too does the value of privacy wane when faced with the mental anguish of loneliness.

What if technology provided the ultimate resolution of this existential crisis by allowing you to plug your brain into a boundless, cognitive melting pot with other humans?

Appealing as this may be, extreme connectedness would come at the price of privacy. For those wrestling with the existential crisis of modern life, mind-to-mind melding may be the only hope they feel they have left. "Connected", a sci-fi short film by Luke Gilford which debuted on Motherboard, gives us a brief glimpse into what the road looks like in a future that's arguably just around the corner.

I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.