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.
If you have had a look at this blog “projects” section, you know it: I’ve worked for Telepass in the past, so I’m a not an independent source or better I am a Telepass fan. To be honest I am a fan of whatever makes life easier for humans. And this is one of those. Telepass let you pass by the gates in the italian highways without stopping: just pass by and the amount will be charged on your credit card. I have one of this devices since 1995 and always worked fine avoding hours of boring cues in over polluted highway barriers and the pain to stop and look for the ticket and the money. Since then I have always wondered why not to use the same logic (and device) in cities car parking. I guess political reasons stopped this natural extention of the service, but now it seems the time is over. I was in Malpensa last friday and – magically – I could park my car without stopping/taking the ticket/store it somewhere in my wallet >> and back << look for it/find the machine/put the ticket/put my credit card/tale the ticket/take the credit card/ask for the receipt/stop at the gate/put the ticket/take the ticke/go. Not bad and works also in the Linate Airport and in the Fiera di Bologna carparks. But can this be useful only for the car parking? Obviously not: i’m working for the so called “smarter planet”, so a soon as the so called ZTLs (limited traffic zones) or (with a wonderful neologism) “ecopass” areas start to grew up in downtown cities, I wondered exactly the same. I’m not discussing now the reasons behind this limited areas, but the process car drivers/citizens are forced to follow. So why not to allow drivers to use their Telepass device to pay when needed instead of forcing them to a crazy process? If traffic have to be smart and building up limited areas is (one of) the way to make this happen, well let’s support those 7,000,000 of drivers who already use this system. Then, if you are wondering that a faciltator like the Telepass is against the purpose of a limited traffic area that should discourage drivers to enter downtonwns, have a look at this. Drivers are entering anyway, without paying. So, tell me, who’s the smarter one here? 🙂
I am involved in speech recognition and live subtitling and voice transcription since 2003. With my team we delivered a voice to chat system called Mambo.
I am also following the activities of the Liberated Learning consortium since 2005 and promoted it all over Europe. Between several other activities I supported the introduction of speech reco technologies in teaching to the University of Bologna which – thanks to this job and the illuminated view of people like Gianluca Garlaschelli – become the first non-aglosaxon University to participate the project within their “e-learning” activities. This sparked to a bigger project led by UniBo named Net4Voice. The matter of a voice reco system in education is quite relevant. First of all the process allows the teacher to litterally project his speech (words) on a screen. This is a must-to-have for deaf and cognitive disabled user which can read live what the teacher is saying. But this is quite relevant to for not native-language students. The business of a University is to attract the widest/selected amount of students as possible and this means to open doors to foreigners. So whatever system will allow an user to ease the cognitive process is more than welcome. So the combination of the spoken word with the written one is a huge facilitator. Finally, the system allow the teacher to create and e-share the spoken lesson content to his community of students.
I have no idea if this will be the future for the masses, but for sure look like the image of future as far as we can see it today. The first thing to say is that the full electric Peugeot ion is a car. I mean, it looks like a car. So no undefined space-era design to show “this is the future” and this is a very good sign. We know this is the bare sister of the Mistubishi i-MiEV so design comes from Jap: basically looks like a compact four doors egg-shaped like a lot of other fuel powered cars of the same range. The second thing to say is that the little ion behaves like the car you always drove. You have a normal remote door opening system, you have a normal key, you put the key in, turn it and the car turns on. Like every other car. Well, there is a slight difference. No noise. And this is absolutely wild. It’s on? Or not?
Silence is probably the most amazing fact about the ion and the main reason for me to suggest to try the experience. No Jaguar V12 or Mercedes V8, even under tons of insulation foams inside the cockpit, will allow you to have this zero emission of noise (not considering CO2 obviously). We always wonder about the virtual CO2-zero-emission of the electric cars, but we forget about this incredible feature and how dangerous is noise for the Planet too. Imagine a city with zero engine noises. Can you do it? How would be Paris, Rome, Madrid without it? Another place. Said that, the other side of the coin is that zero noise is dangerous too. I tested it: in downtown Milan people drinking aperitivi in the middle of the road and chatting loud with phones and friends couldn’t spot me. I had one brave guy sat over the nose of the ion not realizing i was driving by and not stopped there for his ass. Total silence seems a dream over, but at least we could have a nice discussion on what type of noise add over it: Mozart? The Tired Ponys? Kermit’s the Frog voice?
The driving experience is smooth and exciting: a beautiful automatic transmission let you enjoy the torque produced by the electric engine. Push and go: no black holes of power in the middle. Good brakes, good steering system, enough space inside as every normal city car, no plastic noise inside thanks also to a super powerful radio system. The stress? Well, I can’t admit I always kept an eye over the power consumption device. The clock tells you how good you are to save energy, but there is a slighty hidden pleasure to bring the clock to the “full power” red zone. I have no idea about authonomy: the dealer said around 140 km, but I did around 50 in the city and I was still at 3/4 of the full charge. Anyway you have a nice blu cable+plug in the trunk (but you do not have any charging station in Milan…maybe within the famous Expo 2015).
Finally, rumors about price: would you spend around 30.000 euros for this stuff? Not me: i feel that the perceived retail price for this toys must be less than 10.000 euros. Probably only in front of such offering you could seriously decide to have a “real” city car like the cute ion. Cause on the contrary (if you can afford it) you can play the Sylicon Valley Green Tycoon and drive a Tesla.