Hi Again, future-curious folks,
Today I’ll move away from imminent developments like 5G and will instead cast into the more distant future. It’s a bit dense; hope you like it!
I was talking with my father in law recently (hi Rob!) about the Singularity. There are a few definitions of this and, in summary, it’s an assumed period ~30 years away where technological change will be so substantial that the fundamental nature of humanity & life will have shifted so dramatically as to be unrecognizable from today.
That’s my own definition really, and others will refer to superintelligent AI, us merging with machines, etc. I instead think back to Arthur C Clark’s famous 3rd law; any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. If we were to cast our current technology back to stone age, or even medieval times, our ability to fly anywhere on earth, video call anyone in the world, send probes to distant worlds, or correct genetic diseases, would simply be magic. This is what the Singularity means to me; if we could see that future world from our perspective today, it would be so fundamentally different & advanced, that it may as well be magic.
There’s going to be a string of truly meaningful advances in the coming decades, and I think the most meaningful of these will likely be the connection of the human brain to the cloud / Internet / everything else. This shift is so utterly significant that it will change everything (once it really works!). Consider that our interactions with computers today are massively restricted because of the need to use keyboards or voice. This is fundamentally restrictive, old, technology; it’s like trying to suck up an ocean through a straw.
Even our interactions with other people are restricted. We can use voice, of course, and then we have rich non-verbal communication via body language, tone, facial expressions, etc. When these are layered together, our ability to communicate is still fundamentally restricted and imprecise.
A direct brain interface will connect us to infinite information, and to each other, at the speed of thought and at such immense bandwidth that it’s really impossible to fathom right now. Rather than destroying our humanity, as some would predict, I see this as breaking us out of our fundamental physical chains; a kind of ascension to a higher plane of existence.
This direct inter-connectivity is not far-fetched. We’ve been able to play basic games like pong with brain controllers for a long time already. Certain paralysed patients can type by moving a cursor with their brain. There are already many advancements towards understanding actual thought too, based on brain scans. The below article from futurism.com is an example of the latter. We already have the early Internet, the early cloud, and early mobile connectivity. All we need to do is fast-forward these exponential technologies into the future, and it’s easy to envision seamless devices that are interfacing our brain with the world.
It’s going to happen, and it will be magic.
Thanks for listening, Damien Healy out.
Here’s that futurism.com link: