When you read a Press Release with the headline ‘Brain Machine interface shipments to Exceed 25 million by 2030, as Consumer Market Flourishes’ you begin to feel a) a bit old and b) a tiny bit drunk.
The first question that comes into your head (once you have got said head round the fact that this Press Release came from the normally sober people at Juniper Research) is ‘how do they know’? ‘Who did they ask to find out’? Will these Brain Machine Interfaces be something we use to amuse ourselves in the taxi to Mars?
Then you remember the YouTube clip of Elon Musk quite seriously describing a ‘neuralink’ which will need because our fingers and thumbs are now redundant as input devices, given the amount of data out there, that – according to Musk – we need to process (er, no we don’t).
You can understand certain types of brain machine interfaces. The medical world will be transformed by them, as is already making headway in, for instance, getting the brain to treat prosthetic limbs like real limbs through these interfaces.
The consumer market, which will make up 51% of the total market by 2030, supported by revenues from the medical one, will follow two avenues, says Juniper.
The first will be brain VR interfaces. As the addiction with more and more immersive games flourishes, the brain interface will begin to allow gamers to control their virtual worlds with a thought. What could possibly go wrong with that?
The other follows the trend – a powerful one at that – into the world of wellness. Brain machine interfaces will enhance guided meditation techniques and will control, monitor and optimise your sleep (another current obsession).
And of course, once you have achieved a comfort zone with that level of brain control then it is easier to imagine what else would be possible, ushering in a world that was science fiction just a few short years ago. Driving your car with just your brain (maybe not necessary since the car will do it better anyway – but might be fun), controlling your drone (same applies unless you are military and looking for bad guys).
In any event, once the shock of the ‘Brain Interface’ predictions has worn off, then you can see how it could just come about. Then the only shocking thing is the realisation that we really do live in a world where science fiction is becoming science fact faster than ever before.