How do you think? If all the languages you know (i.e. the ones you can speak/ read/ write / understand) were taken away from you, would you be able to think, or know what you were thinking? How would you think "I am hungry," if the words for the concepts of " I ", "am", and " hungry" didn't even exist in your mind?
One of the most common retorts encountered in discussions of the future technology is that "...because our imagination is limited by our knowledge, we cannot even begin to imagine what technology in the future might look like; the middle-ages era man could never have predicted that we'd be able to instantly talk to, and see, someone inside a metal block fitting the palm of our hand."
This is not necessarily true, of course; starting from the ancient and mind-bendingly brilliant, yet unnoticed, human technological invention -- the languages, to the latest quantum computers, every bit of technological development has been geared toward simplifying the three basic components of human existence:
- Survival: simplify the processes of staying alive the longest, and obtaining food with least possible efforts
- Communication: get your ideas across in the fastest way possible
- Exploration: develop methods to explore the unknown (land, sea, space, matter, fields)
Focusing on communication, the idea of "thoughts and language" is fascinating. A major chunk of technological advances of the 21st century contains those geared towards enabling instant and realistic communication.
The path -- from the hoots, to the paintings on the walls, to the trained pigeons, to the telegram, to the telephone, to the live video chats -- of communication technology has been heading towards the singularity of instant (if not instantaneous) transfer of thoughts.Ready Player One" (the book) takes you on dystopian yet elating tour of the possible future of the (physical and verbal) communication technology, and its wider impact on the society.
If you could not only talk to- and see- the person you are communicating with, but could also be with them in the same room, and feel their touch, while being separated by hundreds of miles, instead of having them right in front of you, would you rather wait for the "...typing" status to disappear, and their thoughts to arrive in a text format behind a glass screen? Would you rather see them inside a brick-sized screen than walk up to them and feel their touch as if they were present there?
What if you could go attend the best school in your area right from your bedroom, while still being present in a class room with other students and the teacher?
What if you could go for a run in the forests at the foothills of Himalaya, one day, and run on an Olympic track the next day, all without leaving the treadmill in your gym?
What if you could visit all the stores, parties, or a friend's house in another country, instantly without leaving your seat?
Ignoring the dystopian arc, through Virtual Reality technology -- the goggles, the haptic feedback full-body suits, "Ready Player One" (the book) presents a set of possible answers to all these scenarios and tells a fantastic story unlike any other told so far.
Although, subjectively, the movie trailer fell short of depicting the brilliant world described in the book -- thanks to the ridiculous looking CGI scenes, if the makers have not changed much of the script, this movie should be a wonderful experience, and a preface to the possible technological lives of the near-future.
What of the future technology in this regard? Future is The Simplest Possible. What could be the simplest viable way of communicating? The keyboards, the screens, and the handheld devices, all represent an additional layer of wasted time between the origin of a thought and its receipt at the destination.
The simplest possible way of doing this could be (the toughest idea of) translating a thought into words of a language through a Brain-Machine Interface via a processor-implant which also transmits it directly to the other party's implant, doing away with the unnecessary steps of typing at human speeds. It's not telepathy; and it's not possible, presently, but the future is in the simplest.
Article submitted by one of the closest friend of Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival, known as Ankaito. He is fond of reading and spends most of his time vacationing in OASIS!
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