On October 29, 1969, the first message was sent between two computers. This is considered the foundation for the invention of the Internet – the start of modern digitization and the beginning of a new way of working. What was considered revolutionary at the time is now an integral part of our smartphones, tablets or smartwatches.
Artificial intelligence, voice control, virtual reality. What is new today will be part of our digital daily lives tomorrow. But what developments await us that we can’t even imagine now? Could our smartphones soon be replaced by the next revolutionary wave? This article outlines a possible scenario that may not even be that far off.
Voice control will soon be a thing of the past
Communication is a fundamental need of humanity. Communicating, making ourselves understood and understanding each other is as natural as breathing. It is therefore not surprising that modern means of communication in particular have undergone enormous development in recent decades to enable us to communicate with each other in the digital world. While SMS was still new at the end of 1992, 30 years later it is almost a relic and has been replaced by messenger or video chats.
Not only the medium of the messages changed, but also the operation. Entering information into computers via keyboards replaced the punched cards. After the launch of push-button cell phones, innovations like T9 made the tedious task of typing messages easier. Smartphones and touchscreens followed, using more intuitive gestures to provide instructions. The current technical trend is voice control. This control is no longer limited to smartphones, but also covers many areas of everyday life via voice assistants and smart home interfaces.
So, what’s the next evolutionary stage of ministry? Networking our digital smart devices directly to the brain. This means, for example, that a computer or smartphone can be controlled via brain waves. Sounds like science fiction and future dreams, but it already exists. Companies like Nextmind are working on using the brain as a control module. A sensor is connected to the cortex via a headband, so that the electrical impulses can be translated into actions. These technologies are paving the way for hands-free control of devices.
Fusion of virtual and physical reality
Digitization thus penetrates into the brain, without any intervention from PCs or speech. The next logical step goes even further: when digital and real worlds merge in a so-called metaverse, in a kind of virtual global reality or even a digital alternative to the real world. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is already fully committed to integrating the virtual and the physical world.
Technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality open up to us almost limitless possibilities in such a merged world that go far beyond the gaming sector. For example, business meetings can take place in virtual rooms. Wherever employees are in the world, all avatars (digital representatives) are in the same room. Thanks to state-of-the-art scanning technology, anyone can even bring their own desk into virtual reality.
A look into the crystal ball
The increasing immersion in a digitally networked world offers great opportunities. The brain computer interface makes processes more effective. Control commands do not have to be first processed in the brain and passed to the movement or speech center for execution before arriving at the device. Especially people who are hindered by the usual operating modes will benefit from this.
Digital collaboration and virtual meetings offer great added value. In most cases, a digital meeting can replace a face-to-face meeting. This not only saves travel costs, but also makes an important contribution to protecting the environment. Virtual meetings are the foundation of a new work world that will become increasingly digital. At a time when it is essential to keep distance from other people, the concept of a metaverse offers the ideal conditions for growth. Hybrid approaches in which virtual and physical realities merge and coexist will soon be the norm, especially in the workplace, but also in the entertainment sector. “Experiences” will then no longer be experienced as real, but as virtual.