Last December (that’s 2011), IBM (International Business Machines) put out its annual “5-in5” prediction of five (5) technological shifts that will dominate the World for the next five (5) years until we get bored and desire more tech to make out already lazy lives even lazier. This list of predictions makes for interesting (and troubling!) reading:
- Mind reading is no longer science fiction.
- You will be able to power your home with the energy you create yourself.
- You will never need a password again.
- The digital divide will cease to exist.
- Junk mail will become priority mail
Of the list, No.2 and No. 3 are most possible in a basic sense, as many systems already exist that allow for energy to be created at your own home, most notably Solar, Wind Turbines and the coming development of the Bloom Energy Server for home use.
Password systems exist that use Biometric Technology or just store your passwords more securely and recognize you via Biometric or other means. Examples abound, such as LastPass, which is highly recommended for preventing password theft on your Mac as noted in How to protect your Mac for Viruses, as apparently Macs can get viruses too.
No. 4 is very possible, but mainly via Mobile Internet, not computers. This as is evident in Jamaica, a Developing World Country with a strange love affair with the throwaway technology in the form of the Blackberry and Social Networking in the form of Facebook and Twitter as noted in Android smartphones may be king in 2015, but RIM Blackberry quality shines. Jamaica, in this our 50th Anniversary, is now in a slow transition arc away from BB’s towards smartphones as noted in Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
No. 5 is very interesting; junk mail is akin to using a coloured dye to track traffic online. Thus for it to become priority, it would mean that it contains data about the servers that are used to send them in the first place, a play at the trends towards predictive analysis of human behaviors based on collecting and analyzing huge amounts of discrete M2M (Machine to Machine) communications, called Big Data.
But No. 1 is in the right place and is the really futuristic one, as already, toys do exist that use brainwaves since 2009. “Brainwaves” is a fanciful term for Alpha and Beta waves that can be seen with portable EEG (Electro-Encephalograph) devices that interpret these “Brainwaves” and translate them to action via electrically controlled mechanical actuators.
These devices all work on a common principle. Portable EEG Device, attached to certain parts of the head with soft contact sensors detect the two (2) main types of brainwaves, Alpha and Beta (Greek for “a” and “b”):
- Alpha waves are associated with relaxation
- Beta waves are associated with concentration
Software combined with aesthetically and ergonomically designed EEG filters, amplifies and interprets these brain waves into electrical signals. Thus, the game player controls games or devices around you by relaxing (Alpha waves) or concentrating (Beta waves).
A good example is principle is the Neurowear Cat Ears, a pair of ear you wear that is controlled by your mood and desires. The Ears flop up when you are engaged or something suddenly catches you attention (a cute girl passes your way or handsome man for the ladies!) and your Beta waves are high, so to speak. The ears flop down when you are relaxed and doing nothing in particular. They vacillate between fully up and fully down depending on the ratio of Alpha and Beta wave activity.
Several companies have been pioneering the Technology thus far. One of them is Neurosky, makers of the Mattel’s MindFlex Game, has already licensed their technology to Toshiba to determine brain illness by analyzing brainwaves using their software.
Another competitor in the nascent and emerging field of Brainwave controlled games, Interaxion, is predicting in the future mind-controlled airplanes games and even games on your smartphone or Tablet.
The mood in the Mind Control Camp (can I call them that?) is upbeat and positive. Tansy Brook of Neurosky describes the potential of mind controlled games best, quote: “I’d say it’s coming in the next 10 years. Right now, the most logical fits for us are casual games and serious games, like helping with stress management. As far as the more hardcore gaming stuff, it’s coming. We are working with a leading game console provider who’s interested in integrating the technology.”
Interaxion CEO Ariel Garten outlook on mind controlled games is also very positive, quote: “We think it’s time that in-flight entertainment does more than simply distract you. We create in-flight experiences that offer value even after the flight is over.”
Note at this point these comments were made back in 2010 and IBM’s predictions in December 2011. So we have another four to eight (4 – 8) years to go, going by IBM’s and Neurosky’s timetable. However, the recent announcement by Samsung of a patent application for a direct Cerebral Implant that connects directly to your brain and allows you control over anything that via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi ups the ante as well as the timeline a bit. Applied for as a Medical device, its aim is clearly to help the physically challenged and disabled to interact with their world by using the power of their mind.
Every movie from Johnny Mnemonic (1995) to The Matrix (1997) should send off alarm bells for the highly imaginative such as yours truly about this benign medical device, which is effectively a wet-wired Mind Reading Brain Implant. Soon the possibility of someone hacking you brain may even be possible, as was the case in the movie Johnny Mnemonic (1995), something that this Samsung patent makes highly possible. IBM’s slew of predictions does not seem so fanciful or farfetched anymore with the emergence of all of these POC (Proof of Concept) products that are rough templates for the perfection of the technology in the future.
The applications are endless:
- Playing games with your mind
- Telepathy over very long distances with humans and machines; BB Messenger obsolete overnight in Jamaica
- Moving and controlling machines with only your mind e.g. Driving, baking a cake to moving radioactive nuclear rods; the physically disable need not feel left out again
- Solving murders by reading the minds of dead victims and living witnesses
- Alternate forms of travel i.e. astral projection
- Body swapping
- Immortality i.e. transferring your consciousness through you implant into data storage to reboot another body in the future.
Suddenly, my article on combining Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Kinect to make a remoteless world as per my article Siri and Kinect: Heralds of a coming world free of Remote Controls look as old fashioned as the movie Minority Report; why move your hands at all or even speak when you can exercise the greatest muscle of all, your mind, Charles Xavier Style straight out of XMen: First Class (2011)?
The real future in the electronics Gadget world in a world where we can move, do and think, communicate with each other and with machines via enhanced Mind Reading Implants. Samsung may have lost their patent case against Apple but they may eventually give us Mind Control, which may be making Apple Think Different.
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