Can Twitter Bring Brain-Powered Tech to the Masses?
Mind control and social networking. The two seem to be vastly unrelated, but the time is nearing when we may be able to control more socially oriented applications with our thoughts alone. Tweeting directly from our brains is something I often joke about, but recognize its potential as a future option for truly sharing our thoughts. Of course, there’s a great deal of fear when relinquishing power to an electronic device to collect and translate our thoughts into a widely accessible interface such as Twitter–recognizing the intent to share one’s thoughts versus the ability to keep thoughts to ourselves is a very real obstacle for many mind-control devices.
Nevertheless, the success of movies like Avatar makes us think about the ways in which our future will utilize the electronic signals being exchanged in our brains for more external uses, such as controlling a prosthetic limb or playing a game on family night. The reality of it all, however, is the fact that these types of brain-integrated capabilities are likely to be incorporated into things like video games for consumer purposes. It may be the most cost effective way to provide such tools to the masses.
While the new age soldier may very well use their mind to control a robot for future battles or communicate with their troops, and the disabled will surely look to brain-integrated mechanisms for regaining control over various portions of their bodies and minds, a major concern with the advent of mind control technology is that it will be used by the elite to create a new type of human.
That’s a very real concern, and it’s one that can be likened to the technology gaps we already see today. The devices used to access the Internet, from the computers themselves to the infrastructure needed, can have a huge impact on an individual’s ability to tap into the infinite pool of knowlege found on the Internet. Socioeconomic factors tend to prevail in situations such as this, until consumerism has reached a point of saturation for a particular market, incentivizing large companies to commoditize their products and make them more widely available.
Mobile phones, for instance, are the devices which many rest their hopes upon for closing the technology gap when it comes to accessing the Internet. On a global scale, many are focusing efforts on cell phones in order to provide the web access that otherwise would have been reserved for someone with enough resources to get a computer and bring high speed Internet to their geographic location.
As far as social networking goes, sites like Twitter have risen in popularity because they work well on mobile networks, making them a democratizing factor for the world’s communication switchboard. As video games become more closely integrated with social networks, this continued merger will likely be the best avenue for introducing brain-powered technology to the masses.
There’s no telling how far in the future all of this will take place, or if it will even go down in the way I anticipate. But it’s quite interesting to think about, especially as Twitter pushes us to recognize the power of our shared thoughts. It’s only a matter of time until we simply cut out the middle man.