IBM has predicted that by 2016 consumers will be able to control electronics using brain power only. Wow! This could free our hands and shoulders the torture involved in interacting with our mobile devices for those of us who use these devices for extended periods of time. If for this only reason I’d be happy.
But seriously, this could mean much more. This could mean an easier and more intuitive way of interacting with these devices. Another possible application could be in making identity management and password systems more secure. An identity management system is any system that allows you to give your identity which might be through biometrics or just by filling in your username and password. If this mind-reading technology is applied to these password systems, we won’t have to bother about someone peeking at our fingers while typing in our passwords.
Another possible application is to our future automobiles. I share the dream of cars driving themselves and with this technology I believe we are close to achieving this. I will tell you why. I could be wrong though. But with the application of this mind-reading technology to automobiles, we won’t need our hands and legs to drive our cars any more!!! All we will just to need is our minds to take us to our desired destinations. This will free our other body parts from having to move.
Having considered the advantages of applying this technology, I am of no doubts of it becoming a great technology in the future. Now let’s consider its disadvantages
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There might be the need to wear ‘funny helmets’ or the need to attach wires to my heads just to feel the pulses of our brain. This is going to be really awkward and funny. People might not adapt this technology early because of they might not want to wear a helmet for example. Also remember how some people were disappointed when they realized that they had to wear 3D TV glasses just to view 3D TV.
With this mind-reading technology, all our thoughts (good and bad) can easily be harvested into various databases online. This might cause a lot of serious privacy issues considering what Google is going through right now with Google users feeling threatened because they feel Google knows too much about them.
Another disadvantage is that the people will become lazier when it comes to using their bodies since they could use their brains and achieve same results. This could increase and compound the health issues people are facing today.
I am on the optimistic side of this technology; this is a technology that could revolutionize our entire way of doing things. Just as the way the discovery of electricity less than 200 years ago changed the whole world. Even though electricity in its infant years faced a lot of criticisms involving potential deaths from electrocution and the likes, it is fair to say it has done more good than harm in retrospect.
2016 is just four years from now. I wish I could build a time machine to reach that year faster. In fact I am working on building one now. Maybe I am dreaming or am just lost in my world of sci-fi and fantasy.