Eavesdropping on someone’s cellphone conversation may soon
become a thing of the past. Using a new product called the
the world’s first voiceless phone call was recently demonstrated at
a Texas Instruments conference. Signals from the brain to the vocal
chords are intercepted by a neckband, then sent wirelessly via
Bluetooth to a nearby computer that speaks what you were
The technology was originally developed so that people who have
lost the ability to speak because of brain injury or degenerative
diseases can regain the function of communication. The system can
currently recognize around 150 words and phrases, but will be
upgraded for unlimited vocabulary within months. The first products
will be available for people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease before the
end of the year.
As the lines between human and biological entities blur, and sophisticated mind communication networks are formed, what could be the potential impacts on society?
Imagine a world some point during the middle of the 21st century where virtual communities and direct mind to mind communication is possible at ever increasing speeds, Where human-machine entities can share information they choose at near the speed of light from any positions on the globe, imagine being able to understand almost as if it were your own cognitive processes how to read and write Japanese as someone from japan, or understand medicine or physics like a PhD graduate.
Difficult to imagine? Perhaps sounding a bit like the Borg from star-trek? well resistance is futile because the explosive nature of Nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and most importantly information transfer all point towards a future much more vast and incomprehensible than this.
Since the dawn of single celled organisms life has grown to complex networks of single cells to organisms to human cognition itself and each explosion is not only an explosion in the capability to manipulate and adapt to the environment, its also an explosion in consciousness itself. And best of all it functions on very simple evolutionary principles that hold to this day (albeit in a slightly more complex batch of interactions).
To imagine what i mean think of a petri dish called earth and place inside that petri dish one single celled organism, provide it with a suitable environment and watch it divide exponentially till copies of itself cover the whole petri dish. Well then what? (cont.)
One of the most exciting things about the promise of the Obama administration is their commitment to employing interactive communication technologies in an effort to better their stewardship of the country.
It was the utilization of these tools that spurred him to victory in a daunting primary process and pushed him to a convincing win in the general election. At a simple level, what he really did was engage anyone he could in conversation. That is the hallmark principle of web 2.0 and also of a good politician. I think this concept is at the center of why people (a whopping 79% approve of his handling of the transition) are so optimistic about what type of leader he may be. While it's true that we are in the midst of very difficult times and that will prod more folks into being open to and hopeful that Obama may lead us out of here, I think it is his continued commitment to conversation and engagement that offers the most potential upside.
How is the digital revolution shaping the way we interact with
media? Below is a cool concept video exploring how the internet has
already changed the way we consume and share information. It then
presents a timeline into the next 40 years, giving us a vision of
how content may be consumed in the future.
Traditional information sources like books, newspapers, and even
your own experiences may be fully replaced by new interfaces, like
electronic paper, simulated reality through virtual worlds, and
memory sharing among the masses.
Last week, a colleague of mine at Future Blogger, Alvis Brigis, suggested that the coming reign of online video broadcasting as the "most ubiquitous and accessible form of communication" may be short-lived. In its stead, he suggested that brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) may replaced it.
To many people the idea of brain-to-computer or even brain-to-brain communication might seem a little "out there." I disagree and think that Alvis is on the right track. As evidence, I submit this recent article on the U.S. Army’s plans to invest in a "Thought Helmut" for voiceless communication. And lest anyone think that voiceless communication is some far-off, fuzzy, futuristic technology just check out this amazing video demonstrating an early prototype of this technology.
Until I can read your thoughts directly, I’d be interested in reading your reactions to this possibility and how you think it may necessitate that we unlearn some things—such as, perhaps, how we communicate in the future.
A variety of thinkers have converged on the notion that humans rely on what is essentially "software" to build our simulation(s) of the world around us.
Abstractions Driving the Flynn Effect: Cognitive historian James Flynn attributes the steady rise in IQ over the past 100+ years (known as the Flynn Effect) to better human abstraction abilities, not to any significant increase in physical brain power:
Our brains at conception are no better than they ever were. But in response to the evolving demands of society, we can attack a far wider range of problems than our ancestors could. It is like the evolution of the motor car in the 20th century. Are automotive engineers any brighter than they were 100 years ago? – no. But have cars evolved to meet modern demands for more speed and entertainment while we drive (radios, tape decks, etc) – yes. Our brains are no better but our minds have altered as dramatically as our cars.
In other words, the abstract thought frameworks that we drill into our children during critical periods, including math, science, biology, maps, businesses, social networks, new language, etc, are in fact a form of software that affects our IQ and ability to navigate the world.
This simple yet powerful abstraction (npi) is a critical paradigm shift in our definition of what it means to be human and opens the door to additional metaphors for social, economic and intelligence studies.
Particularly intriguing is the question of how quickly and/or regularly we (individuals, groups, societies, nations) experience software upgrades, akin to loading the latest Windows or Linux versions.