Friday, May 26, 2006

Brain UI isn't as cool as you think

My buddy Paul pointed me to this week's NYTimes article about how Honda Says Brain Waves Control Robot . Somebody at their car labs has a demo of a person controlling a robot through brain waves.

One of our employees is really into this stuff -- calls it BUI (Brain UI). Ray Kuzweill takes it for granted that this will be a reality by the Singularity, which is all set for 2045, although the brainwave stuff happens sooner, like in 10 or 20 years.

I'm not convinced this is terribly interesting. Maybe it's nice to not have to physically interact with a computer, but you still have to think. Brainwaves are an unstructured mess until you focus them into a unified thought. But that's exactly what language is. Our vocal cords, hands, eyes -- they're extensions of our brain's thought-focusing machinery. I bet you'd find that in most situations it's easier to simply do what you do right now: use speech or hand gestures.

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