Telepathy by Machine: Fact or Fiction in 2025?

Posted by Tristan Barnum on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 @ 11:30 PM

Last week, I gave a talk at eComm America 2011, a premier emerging technology conference held in San Francisco, CA. The event was very interesting. Imagine a room with hundreds of seasoned technology leaders and educators from brands like Google to Skype to Microsoft to MIT to UC Berkeley, all gathered together to discuss hot industry topics. A number of these experts were invited to present on various concepts to spur further discussion. I was among these speakers and presented a glimpse of what the future of communications might look like in 2025.

A little about my topic…

When I was asked to address the future of communications, I immediately knew what I wanted to cover. We all have different communication preferences, whether dictated by gender, learning style, or personality. What if we could transform conversations beyond language to cater to how we and our counterparts are wired as individuals?

We are already seeing technical indicators that communications technology is heading in this direction. I thought it would be interesting to discuss how the evolution of intelligence-based technologies will not only completely change the way people use any form of communication interface, but they will also change the depth of our interactions and conversations with others.

The areas where we foresee rapid technological growth include:

  1. Communication of Intent – New technologies to enhance relationship building, particularly relevant for gender-specific communication styles
  2. Individual Learning Preferences – Tools that will adopt real-time modality and medium switching based on the person’s learning style
  3. Behavioral Heuristics – Back-end platforms to assess an individual’s expressions and actions to predict future behavior (e.g., audio detection of lying)

For example, take a video call that factors in emotional indicators. What might that look like in the future?  Will there be an emotional barometer telling you the real state of mind of the person you’re talking to?  Monitoring the tone of voice or facial expressions?  Interpreting the real meaning in the other party’s expressions?

There are plenty of other ways in which these emerging technologies will manifest themselves, whether it’s facial recognition technology that interprets emoticons in video to text, meta data that describes exactly what you’re trying, real-time text suggestions that impact how you speak with others, etc. It all comes down to a new layer of logic that translates our thoughts into something that is not foreign and is much less likely to be misinterpreted or misheard on the other end.

What do you think communications technology will be like in 2025?  Share your thoughts by commenting here or on our Facebook page


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