Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's all happening!

Oh dear, how do I, someone totally unversed in IT skills and science, explain another fascinating item that I heard the other day on the 'Today' programme?
But it needs to be shared . . . so I really must try to explain it to you.
Please be patient . . . I'll do my best.

Have you heard of B.C.I?
B.C.I, so it appears, stands for Brain-Computer Interfacing, which, in layman's terms, could also be translated as 'brains control instruments'. Apparently (and this was what amazed me), scientists have now reached the point whereby they can send messages via computers using an internet connection plus nothing more nor less than the power of the mind. For example, someone sitting at a computer here in London could, without the use of a keyboard or a mouse, send a mental message to someone in Manchester asking them, for example, to move their right arm. The person in Manchester, sitting at his computer, would receive the message via his computer and, in accordance with the request, move his right arm.

Please don't ask me how this miracle works. I've no idea. But to the speaker it was no miracle, it was a vital step forward involving both a detailed knowledge of the working of the brain and advanced computer science.

What is not so good is the news that the military are investing millions into this research. No wonder. If you can bring down an enemy aircraft by communicating directly with its control panel, it's far cheaper, and more effective, than using missiles. I suppose it's also more environmentally-friendly, although I rather doubt whether this comes into military calculations!

But let's be positive. Another avenue of research, and one that I whole-heartedly support, is that of wheelchairs for the severely disabled. How marvellous for someone in such a situation to regain their independence of movement purely by the power of thought.

I don't know how you feel, but to me it's mind-boggling (probably that is precisely the right word!) how everything in our complex, technological world is speeding up.
In a year or so's time, will I be able to chat to you on this computer using nothing other than thought?
Take heart, that's still a good way off! For the time being, in addition to the computer, I still need three essential commodities . . . a keyboard, a mouse and time!
Talking of time, let's take a moment in all our rushing, racing and marvelling to pause and reflect.
To do so is to realise that only a hundred years ago there were no computers, far less one operated by thought. Not only that, in those innocent years of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the atmosphere was totally free of electronic communication.
Just pause and think . . . as you and I sit here now, our bodies are being constantly penetrated by electromagnetic wavelengths. We are positively vibrating with emails, telephone conversations, television programmes, radio broadcasts, texts, web-sites . . . you name it, our bodies and minds are continuously absorbing it. The air around us is crackling with information in a way that has never happened before . . . we breathe it in, we consume it, the frequencies penetrate our every fibre.Has it changed us . . . ?
I sometimes wonder.

Oh yes, and something else. Did you know that they're planning to reactivate the Large Hadron Collider in November?

It's all happening . . . !