Communication could be defined as passing information from one location to the other. We humans are good at communications because we developed a better tool than all other organisms on earth. That tool is language. We created languages. Languages are nothing more than organized signals of messaging. Animals use sound systems but they do not qualify as languages. They might be languages but they are very limited. Our communication skills got better because of the invention on languages.
In contrary to the communications, the information to be passed from location to location is always present. Just because we did not pass the information from one place to the other does not mean that the information is not there. Information and communication are interconnected but are two entirely separate entities. We should treat them separately in order to understand communication and its future.
After developing languages in the early history of humans, we made them organized with grammar. Languages did not have written forms in the beginning. Humans developed written forms of languages to better communicate without using sound. Letters were initially symbols and much more complicated. Unlike today’s letters the early day letters represented whole events or messages. Later on breakdown of such symbols resulted in letters to be used as syllables of sound. It is after the usage of symbols or letters to represent the syllables of sound that the language started to develop drastically.
We also needed to construct languages when we invented computers. We needed to pass the message to the computer and wanted the computer to pass messages to us. There are several computing languages that were created by humans. We do not have access to information that cannot be passed out through language.
For example, people say that they couldn’t explain a feeling with words. You might have heard people saying that words are not enough. It is not just an expression. It is real that our languages are not sufficient to communicate certain information. However, our communication skills and systems have enabled us reach higher achievements.
The future of the communications will need to make sure that all information could be communicated. The future of communications will definitely be influenced by technology. As we have now, there is information communication technology. This will breakdown in the following years into information technology and communication technology. As mentioned above, information and communication are two entirely different entities.
The information technology will focus mainly on gathering, storing and processing information. The communications technology will focus only on communicating. We are already at a point where these two are to be separated. Once these two fields are separated, the future of communications will begin.
After inventing languages, we started using tools to communicate. We still used languages but used tools to apply the language to communicate information. The pen and paper method was prevalent for centuries. Once we had invented electronic media, we had shifted towards the electronic media. The internet was one of the major developments in the communications history of mankind. We now communicate mostly through the internet. All our mobile phones work through a similar system as well.
The early day electronic communications required larger equipment and special locations. Now we have that communication in our pockets. The next step is to bring that communication system inside our physical body. There have been advances made in this direction so that we could one day have the communications system within our body.
Universities and research institutions have carried out experiments where people with disorders have voluntarily participated. The major theme in these experiments was to place a chip in the cortical column of the brain and act as an intermediate communicator between the brain and an assigned computer. The cortical column is a highly sophisticated and outermost layer of the brain where it is believed that our thoughts are processed. Scientists have figured out a way of accumulating the waves produced by our thoughts and translating them into a language that computers could understand. This has made it possible for computers to get commands directly from our brain. The experiments carried out so far had people moving curser pointers on computer screen with their thoughts. It had worked successfully. There have been records of people browsing the internet with their brain. There have been instances of people moving synthetic limbs thorough the same concept.
It is the current state of the future communications technology. This is called the Brain Computer Interface or BCI as abbreviation. BCI is a very advancing stream of science and is proving to be very successful. In BCI the human brain is only communicating with a computer. When this technology would enable people to communicate between people with the aid of computer chips implanted in their brains, then we will reach the future of communications.
There are two major concerns to achieving this state. The first concern is the ethics of placing a chip inside a human brain. There will always be people who support the idea and oppose the idea. If majority of the people didn’t want to do this, then it couldn’t be done. The second concern is to permanently placing such devices inside human brain. The permanent placement of such devices would require energy for them to run, clinical safety and the precision manufacturing. If such a device fails within the brain, replacement would require a surgery. No one will want to open up their skull just to recharge or repair the equipment.
Compared to what is expected in the future communications technology, the current BCI researches are still at their infancies. We will need these devices to be able to translate and then broadcast signals wirelessly. And the signal should be strong enough to be picked up by the signal transmission towers. To achieve this, the device will need much power like our phones. We should either place a battery that should power the device for a life time or should place a mechanism that will keep on charging the device. Placing a battery is not very practical based on our experiences on cell phones. Placing a mechanism is very possible.
Our body generates heat and this heat is transported by our blood stream. If the device could be assigned a mechanism through which the thermal energy could be transformed into electricity, then the power problem will be solved. There are such devices today. There are watches that function on body heat for example.
Producing signals is a concern. The emitted signal might damage the brain cells with radiation. The equipment will get heated with operation. No one would want to bake their brain inside out. We are still decades away from such a technology to exist but that is where we are headed.
Once this technology is in place, we will be able to communicate feelings with people but not by words. When we communicate to someone now, we only try to explain our feelings with words. That is why we say words are not enough. If the chips are capable of receiving our brain waves and communicating the same to another person, then the other person will receive exactly what we had in our mind. If you are sad or happy, the other person on the communication will feel exactly what you feel.
When we say that we are imagining something, we cannot explain our imagination to the fullest to someone. Once this technology is made available, we will be able to share our imaginations with others. We can record and preview our dreams. We can share dreams with others in real time. By the time the technology would reach such a point, we will have self driving vehicles. We will not need to drive. We will not need to press buttons on the car. We can communicate to the car with our mind and the car will take us where we want to go.
It is hard to fully imagine something before it ever existed. The future is not here yet. We can only predict and anticipate it. People can simply predict where the current technologies will take us in the future. If people are to anticipate, they will always want a better system than present. We are going to have a better communications system in the future than we can imagine now.
We all expect something better to happen in our lives. If we think about it cumulatively for humanity, then we need better lives for all.