While representing only 2% of body weight, the brain receives 15% of cardiac output, 20% of the total consumption of oxygen and 25% of the total body glucose utilization. The energy required for mere survival to the brain is 0.1 calories per minute, but the value may rise by up to 1.5 calories per minute (100 W) while solving a crossword. Functional Neurobiology of Aging (Patrick R.Hof and Charles V. Mobbs (academic press, New York, 2000)
Every since I started working on the internet of things arena I’ve wondered that the paradigm behind, even though related to things, is the dematerialization of the things themselves. We are inoculating pure binary intelligence in the things so that the type of information could be not correlated at all to the shape or the function. Starting from this vision, the objects are simply a neutral platform able to accept whatever information. I am not interested here (even if it interests me a lot) about the design opportunities that he Internet of Things opens up or to philosophically discuss about the reverse side of the paradigm of Horatio Greenhoug “form (do not anymore) follows function”. And I am also not intended to get in Bruce Sterling’s synthesis on SPIME as “an historical entity with an accessible, precise trajectory through space and time”. You can browse Wikipedia to get in deep on these theories how, when and where you prefer. My hypothesis question is
“what are the interaction opportunities given by this dematerialization if the shape of things no longer tied to the function, may be so broad as to be virtually infinite, and therefore, by extension, “meaningless”? This leads us to a syllogism: “can the access to informations – related to non-shaped objects – be a non-interface-like?”.
The way we interact
The typical access to things bring it in a conceptualization of the process of knowledge. We are tended to produce and provide concepts and again objects (to be read: interfaces) to access. I guess that the very interesting work on hype reality (please look at the brilliant Massimo Scognamiglio’s job on this) probably draw a trajectory, but it still relates to objects and their “touchability”. Hyper reality is a means to characterize the way consciousness defines what is actually “real” in a world where a multitude of media can radically shape and filter an original event or experience. I rather to enter the subject of “hyper unreality”, because if it is true that our brain is a real and tangible object is also true that it is a nonexistent and virtually inaccessible object: if you try to access, it usually stops working unless you are good neurosurgeon. So let this amazing device to work in his native housing and try to minimize those fractures between thinking and doing: if its true that the “medium is the message,” why to put something between this super–medium and the message?
From Brain Computer Interface to the Internet of Thought
There is a vast literature on the topic of Brain Computer Interface, and there are hundreds of research projects that over half a century have explored the theme of the “possible transmission of thought.” Early observations of the P3b were reported in the mid-1960s. In 1964, researchers Chapman and Bragdon found that ERP responses to visual stimuli differed depending on whether the stimuli had meaning or not.
However, a news and trends show us a broader and more dynamic scenario.
On the one hand the news. IBM has announced it has released a chip that processes the data in a similar way to our brain.
Researchers at IBM have been working on a cognitive computing project called Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE). By reproducing the structure and architecture of the brain—the way its elements receive sensory input, connect to each other, adapt these connections, and transmit motor output—the SyNAPSE project models computing systems that emulate the brain’s computing efficiency, size and power usage without being programmed.
Where’s the news? Well ‘the possibility of correlating information and events will follow a path a little‘ less linear and a little ‘more like the “intuition“ which has so far been recognized only in humans.
On the other hand the trend of the spread of smartphones coupled with the massive expansion of data networks suggests, but–most importantly – enables scenarios where you can transmit data and information (inbound and outbound) in a seamless form. In other words, it is and it will increasingly be able to interact with objects and “situations” without been forced to enter a dedicated application, select the context of reference and obtain an information or provide a command.
The convergence of these elements leads to something far more extensive than what we have defined so far as Brain Computer Interface. I call it the Internet thought.
Internet of thought: my manifesto
The Internet of thought is the interaction between thoughts
(and therefore the emotions) of one or multiple people and things around them (and therefore also the situations and feelings) through systems able to interpreter in a first native and then evolutionary way both desires, reactions to those desires and commands to trigger further actions knowing how to distinguish between these areas in a natural way and without the use of interfaces
as those are commonly known.
The fundamental principles of the internet of thought are:
The final purpose of the internet of thought is to communicate seamlessly between two or more entities, one to many and/or many to many via T2T (Thought to Thought).
Data (informations, emotions, reactions, commands) refers to a living being (human & animal) and the entire surroundings perceived through:
a) the main five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
b) humans are considered to have at least five additional senses that can be detected and processed that include:
- nociception (pain);
- equilibrioception (balance);
- proprioception and kinaesthesia (joint motion and acceleration);
- tempusception sense of time;
- thermoception (temperature differences);
- and possibly an additional weak magnetoception (direction),
c) six more of interoceptive senses could be also considered with particular attention to Pulmonary stretch.
Cutaneous receptors in the skin not only respond to touch, pressure, and temperature, but also respond to vasodilation in the skin such as blushing.
Stimulation of stretch sensors that sense dilation of various blood vessels may result in pain, for example headache caused by vasodilation of brain arteries.
d) In addition to this field of data collection and interpretation, a whole series of animal based sensing system can be added. These sensing systems can be simulated or recreated (such as echolocation in bats and cetaceans which allows them to locate obstacles in the environment)
Data (informations, emotions, reactions, commands) are processed following the brain process logic, i.e. without a pre-written code of chain-actions but based on the experience of single individuals while behaving as single or as social entities while in a social context, As it happens in real life, actions are influenced by the sourrounding environmen
Inbound and outbound (informations, emotions, reactions, commands) actions and reactions occurs via brain commanded systems and without touchable interface. “Visualization” of informations, when needed, can occur through graphical interfaces or other type of sense based systems (voice, vibration, temperature…)
Typically we can identify two main information flows: the inbound and outbound.
Inbound refers to the monitoring of electrical responses from the brain to a variety of external stimuli and thus allows to characterize the reaction and monitor the type and intensity.
The outbound allows you to associate a function/command to a brain activity, and then trigger actions to virtually any device with any connectivity capacity.
[To be continued: The internet of thought: a manifesto/ end of chapter1: introduction]
The photograph in this post have been shot by me at the Sandnes Science Museum, Norway
Thanks to Mr. Bharat Bedi (twitter: @BharatBedi) for suggestions, sharing and support.