Jul 15, 2017

Could brain-to-brain communication make speech obsolete?

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The evolution of communication throughout history has largely been about taming two dimensions: time and distance. That was as true of spoken language as it was of the telegraph or email. Humans have been so successful at taming these factors that, today, neither time nor distance are meaningful bottlenecks to transmitting your thoughts.

In fact, if you want to tell a friend living in a different hemisphere what you just ate for lunch, the most time-consuming part of the process is physically typing or tapping the message. Communication these days can be so fast that it’s fair to consider it “instantaneous,” though technically it’s not quite there yet. Because with all of the messaging we do in a day, all of that typing and tapping adds up.

We still rely heavily on fingers and thumbs to get the message across, but for how long will this be the case? It’s too soon for anything but speculation, but research groups and corporations are working on new technologies that might allow us to share our ideas using thoughts alone. Flying cars, walking-talking robots, and now sci-fi telepathy? It’s a fascinating time to be alive.

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