Friday, March 2, 2012

How will we interface with the computer?

The Emotov EPOC neuroheadset
You might think that your iPad's touch screen is the best invention ever, or you may love speaking instructions to Siri on your iPhone, but you'd better be prepared to control your computer or smartphone in the near future by thought alone. You can already buy the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset for $299 and with it control computer games or your computer's mouse just by thinking. You've also maybe seen marvelous videos of people controlling prosthetic limbs or wheel-chairs that can be steered just by thought.
    In other developments computers are being used to influence our brains, rather than the other way round, and there are treatments being developed for Parkinson's disease and depression involving neurostimulation. Clearly there are ethical issues involved here, both in our control of devices by thought and vice-versa. In anticipation of this The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has launched a, "consultation on the ethics of new types of technologies and devices that ‘intervene’ in the brain, such as brain-computer interfaces, deep brain stimulation, and neural stem cell therapy." We live in fascinating times and the future looks even more interesting - you can read more about this in Chapter 13 "Machines of Loving Grace" in The Universal Machine.