On October 29, 1969, the first message was sent between two computers. This is considered to be the basis of the invention of the Internet – the beginning of modern digitization and the beginning of a new way of working. What was once considered revolutionary is now an integral part of our smartphones, tablets or smartwatches.
Artificial intelligence, voice control, virtual reality. What’s new today will be a part of our digital everyday life tomorrow. But what development awaits us that we can not even imagine now? Can our smartphones soon be replaced by the next revolutionary wave? This article outlines a possible scenario that may not even be that far away.
Voice control will soon be a thing of the past
Communication is a fundamental need of humanity. Communicating, making ourselves understood and understanding each other is as natural as breathing. It is therefore not surprising that precisely modern means of communication in recent decades have undergone an enormous development to enable us to communicate with each other in the digital world. While SMS was still new in late 1992, 30 years later it is almost a relic and has been replaced by messenger or video chat.
Not only the medium of the messages changed, but also the operation. Entering information on computers via keyboards replaced the hole cards. After the launch of mobile phones with push buttons, innovations like the T9 made the tedious task of writing messages easier. Smartphones and touch screens followed and used more intuitive gestures to give instructions. The current technical trend is voice control. This control is no longer limited to smartphones, but also covers many areas of everyday life via voice assistants and smart home interfaces.
So what’s the next evolutionary step in the ministry? Network our digital smart devices directly to the brain. This means, for example, that a computer or smartphone can be controlled via brain waves. It sounds like science fiction and future dreams, but it already exists. Companies like Nextmind are working on using the brain as a control module. A sensor is connected to the cortex via a headband so that the electrical impulses can be converted into actions. These technologies pave the way for hands-free device control.
Fusion of virtual and physical reality
Digitization thus penetrates the brain, without the intervention of PCs or speech. The next logical step goes even further: When the digital and the real world merge into a so-called metavers, into a kind of virtual global reality or even a digital alternative to the real world. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is already fully committed to integrating the virtual and the physical world.
Technologies like virtual reality or augmented reality open up almost limitless possibilities for us in such a merged world that extends far beyond the gaming sector. For example, business meetings can take place in virtual premises. No matter where the employees are in the world, all avatars (digital representatives) are in the same room. Thanks to the advanced scanning technology, anyone can even bring their own desktop into virtual reality.
A look into the crystal ball
The growing immersion in a digital networking world offers great opportunities. The brain’s computer interface makes processes more efficient. Control commands do not have to be processed in the brain first and passed on to the motion or speech center for execution before they arrive at the device. Especially people who are hampered by the usual modes of operation will benefit from this.
Digital collaboration and virtual meetings provide great added value. In most cases, a digital meeting can replace a face-to-face meeting. This not only saves travel costs but also makes an important contribution to protecting the environment. Virtual meetings are the foundation of a new world of work that is becoming increasingly digital. At a time when it is essential to keep your distance from other people, the concept of metavers provides the ideal conditions for growth. Hybrid approaches where virtual and physical realities merge and coexist will soon be the norm, especially in the workplace but also in the entertainment sector. “Experiences” will then no longer be experienced as real, but as virtual.
Of course, all positive visions of the future also have a downside. There is still a risk that the new technologies will not only be used responsibly. If the virtual and physical worlds become even more closely intertwined, this potential could also be used for surveillance and control. It’s a script more reminiscent of a science fiction movie script. Yet there is also a core of truth in it. In the coming years, therefore, more efforts must be made to regulate technological development so that it is used for the benefit of all.
This blog post is written for Christian Reinwald, Head of Product Management & Marketing at reichelt elektronik. He sheds light on how digitalisation is making the leap from devices to reality and all the way to the brain.
Image credit: Adobe Stock © ipopba, vchalup & reichelt electronics