Three themes from the future for you to ponder over during this week
You would have experienced situations like the electricity department engineers coming home and switching off the power supply if you default on payments, or telco operators disconnecting you from the network if you haven’t paid your bills for long. It’s easier for them to do it as TELCOs primarily provide all connectivity. What happens tomorrow if your bank can lock you out of your home automatically, and your car stops working if you don’t pay your bills on time?
What are the safety implications of such a situation? Who pays for the technology and the money that needs to be spent in running this technology? What commercial sectors like collection agencies, etc get impacted because of these changes? How will these technology maneuvers affect the profitability of lending companies?
What if televisions, fridges and everything can be rented instead of being bought, as is happening today? What kind of legislation does the govt need to bring in to ensure this is not abused?
It was Nikola Tesla’s dream to generate millions of volts of electricity through the air from the Niagara Falls and transmit it around the world by setting up towers that work as power receivers. Very similar to how television signals have been broadcasted before the emergence of cable and satellite TV.
It has taken a long time to make that happen, although in a limited way, but there are a lot of companies making investments in this space. Recently, Disney’s research team designed a “Quasi-Static Cavity resonance” room. It is simply a specially designed space that generates quasi-static magnetic fields that can power devices located within the space.
They used a copper conductor, capacitors and electroplated room that transmit around 1.9 KW of power without violating federal safety guidelines.
It will be interesting to explore what the impact of such technology can be in our day to day life. We will no longer be worried about carrying adapters that can plug into the different power outlets in various parts of the world. Finally, all the appliances at home can be placed wherever we would like to use them, instead of worrying about where the plug points are. How does this impact the job of the home electrician whose whole job has been laying out the wires and setting up the power sockets? Will all this be really possible, and can humans endure living constantly in an environment saturated with electromagnetic fields? Interesting ideas to explore.
Professor Charles Francis Xavier (aka Professor X) is a fictional character in the popular series X-Men. He’s also the leader of the X-Men a set of human mutants with remarkable properties. Professor X’s key mutant skill are his extraordinary powers of telepathy. He can read what’s happening in the minds of people from a long distance, and he is also gifted with the ability to control the minds of people from afar.
In the not too distant future, this will no longer remain a work of fiction, and the technology can be made available to ordinary citizens. Experiments have been performed successfully where an expert video gamer is playing a game. However, his maneuvers with the mouse and keyboard have no impact as they’ve been disabled. An EEG (Electro Encephalogram) device is placed on his head, that captures all the brainwave activity. Simultaneously, another individual has placed a mile away from the original gamer. He actually has a mouse and keyboard that work and is connected to the game computer remotely. This person can’t see anything that’s happening in the game. He is wearing a headset that has Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation(TMS) technology.
So what happens now is that the original gamer sends a brain command which is transmitted electronically to the headset of the other person who actually has access to the controls. His brain interprets the brain signal generated by the original gamer, and he makes the finger movements and maneuvers needed to succeed in the game.
A new technology initiative being funded by DARPA called Atomic Magnetometer for Biological Imaging In Earth’s Native Terrain (AMBIENT) can actually make it possible to capture and analyze the brain waves being generated by people without actually placing an EEG headset on the subject. This makes the future even more potent and scary. While there are lots of opportunities for us to make life very easy and interesting with this new technology, it also has the potential to invoke situations like in the movie “Minority Report”
Happy mulling over these scenes from the future for the rest of the week.
Tags: digital transformation