It’s Thursday, and that means for our Tomorrow Today team, it’s Throw Forward Thursday. Every Thursday, we have a look at some technology, some disruptive force that is coming our way in the near future and get our heads around it and the way in which it might impact our world today. I want to talk about how we connect with computers. When I went to school, girls were still taught typing, boys were not. Yes, I realize that that says a lot about the world and how things have changed.
I taught myself typing. My mother was a secretary and knew how to touch type. And I kind of watched her do things. And now I type reasonably well with four fingers and a lot of people struggle with typing. It is not a great way to interface with computers. Of course, we can now speak to our computers, although not everybody realizes that it’s actually built into your smartphone and even into the latest laptops is some really, really good voice recognition.
We don’t really use it as much as we should and as much as we will in the future. But I want to throw you forward to the tweet, early 2030’s, where we are going to be controlling our devices with our thoughts now. I know this sounds, maybe a little bit scary science fiction, but I really do believe that in the very near future, we are going to be able to map the ways in which our brains actually work.
And obviously, your brain works on electricity. So, with this electricity flowing around is also chemical flowing around this neuron activity. And all of that can be measured. In fact, today we measure it with an MRI, a magnetic resonance machine, except have a look at this. This is a real time MRI device. That is available to use at home. Yeah, okay, looks fairly weird. Let me show you the box to show you not just a little toy that I’ve created.
You can actually buy this at the moment. Now, I don’t think it’s medical standard and I don’t think doctors are going to be using it, but basically show you that you’ve got a little USB port that you connect to. You plug it into your computer. And, yes, at a very basic level now, because this is not the future yet. And so, this is the starting point. We’re able to look at brain activity. Now, the idea with this little emotive device that I’ve got and I’m happy to call it a toy at the moment, is that it looks at my brain activity.
Now, what I need to do is train it to match certain activities with particular thoughts that I’m having. And at the moment, there’s no way that can read my thoughts. It can’t pick out individual words. If I think of a sentence, it can’t then pick out the words I’ve thought about. I think that’s the 2030 throw forward. But it can for example, if I close my eyes and picture vivid colours, if I picture blue or yellow will red, that creates a very particular brain pattern that the emotive device can pick up.
I can then link that into my machine, create a little app that says when I think of blue. Do this, you know, so when I think of blue switch off the lights in the room, when I think of yellow, switch on the lights. And I’m telling you, this is this is not to throw forward part, I’m telling you that that’s already possible, that we can already using technology that I can literally buy and use in my home, we can start to map some of the brain’s functioning.
Now go and have a look online for some of the stuff that’s happening in terms of robotics. So, people who’ve got robotic extensions, if they’re missing arms or legs and how they are linking that into their thinking. So now you think I want to put my right leg forward and your right leg goes forward? This has already started. And so, by the beginning of the 2030’s, I think we will be in a situation where we will be interfacing with the machines around us, still through keyboards, sort of, yes, mainly through our voice by the 2030’s, but certainly potentially through our thoughts as well.
Throw forward Thursday, you never know what you’re going to get every Thursday, but you always know you’re going to go to the future. I’ll see you next week with another Throw Forward Thursday episode. Make sure that you subscribe now. And if you’re on YouTube, hit the bell so that you can be notified and remind yourself to check us out every Thursday.
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I’ll see you next week.
Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on the faculty at 5 top global business schools.