3D printers? So last season. If you're not at home prototyping your own gear cubes (or statuettes of your likeness), consider yourself left behind as of last week.
Thankfully, there's hope. Today's big wave is mind control -- that is, our minds controlling other stuff (at least for now).
Last week during MIPTV's Connected Creativity segment, Baroness Susan Greenfield talked about how the mind works and is changing as a result of our technology adoption. She began her talk with an interesting statement that the mind is a place that (ideally) can't be hacked.
That's increasingly less true, and Greenfield betrays this herself by admitting we do change as a function of how we use technology.
We've opened APIs to our minds. We are constantly experimenting with new -- even bionic -- capabilities. We readily throw out what doesn't work, and keep what does, from the most banal -- vigilantly recording our present whereabouts on Foursquare and Facebook, stringing thoughts into something coherent to publish on Twitter -- to the large-scale and networked: organising to elect our first black President, to raise funds for the Japan tsunami, to remotely rebuild the Rainbow Warrior alongside Greenpeace.
Where to go from here? Directly to the source, with minimal middleman between point A (the brain) and point B (the intended outcome). And there's work in that direction. Two technologies I've seen this past week include:
- The elusive E-Mote. Basically a neurons-reading remote control. We only have a vague understanding of how it works -- or is meant to work -- coupled with a slick video of people changing TV channels with their minds, bringing delightful new hijinks to family dynamics:
- Emotiv. For the time being this is an enclosed platform with apps built to work specifically with the technology. It is marketed to developers and researchers and costs a trifling $299. At MIPTV, Gavin McGarry claimed he tried it and was, like, crushing human heads with his superbrain and whatnot. (We survived, but I can see Gavin being the Carrie of the new millennium.)
I haven't any thoughts on where this is going (my opinions are heavily influenced by fringey Star Trek characters who used USB ports in their heads to hack safes at constant risk of brain damage by firewall). I do think we are moving in a direction where technology grows closer to the body, more like an extension of our own appendages, and we'll see ever more experimental (and cheap!) takes on closer human/machine integration.
I say this because as we grow more dependent on items like the iPad and iPhone, and their myriad capabilities that change our whole days, we must move toward carrying less technology with us, not more. These items are already quite small, intimate and relatively close to us all the time.
Tread lightly, mice and men. What comes next is bigger than compulsive live-published geolocal check-ins. And it will come with great responsibility (and probably a new iteration of Angry Birds).