India Future Society

2050: The Age of Voiceless Conversations

googleglass[1]The hottest news about Google’s Project Glass is that the head-mounted device will carry inbuilt technology. This technology will allow users to hear audio without the need for headphones or speakers from the device, simply through the device’s contact with the head. Sound, directly to the skull.

This means, with the use of the device you will be able to hear music, songs, or what someone I am speaking with over the web is saying without plugging anything into my ears. You will be able to listen to something or someone without the need for anyone around you to know or realise it. Sounds like James Bond technology, but, soon enough, we will be purchasing devices that enable us to do exactly the above, from the nearest tech-store in our towns and cities, across the globe.

The disadvantage would still be that if you wish to respond to someone speaking with you, it is still necessary to use your voice to answer your conversation partner, even if you are able to listen to them discreetly through Google Glasses.

Besides, for a voice-activated device, if every person around you travelling with you on buses and trains or sitting at tables around you in food outlets is using his or her voice to instruct his or her headset to do something, the world could well be a very noisy and annoying a place.

The eventual and imminent solution is to do away with not just with speakers, which is already being done, but also the microphone.

The next step in the technological evolution after wireless and hands-free is to go voiceless. How? You think about it, the computing device detects and reads it, and it follows your thoughts as instructions. Like it or not, believe it or not, all you have to do is Google it, to find out that mind reading technology exists today. It is not science fiction.

Neuroimaging can be used to pick up algorithms of brain activity, which can be decoded to identify words more specifically, words that are thought of. These words can be translated into comprehensible forms for communication. The technology for mind reading, however, is still in a rather primitive stage. I want to share my considerations, which will likely soon become reality.

The progress towards speakerless audio that will come with Google’s Project Glass has been in leaps and bounds. As per that precedence, also voiceless communication will happen in leaps and bounds over the next three decades from today. You will be able to instruct consciously that computing device by using your thoughts, just as you now instruct your laptop or smartphone with your fingers. And if you can talk to the computing device by using your mind, you will surely be able to talk through it, using your mind.

The way devices for talking by mind control will work is simple, although the technology involved will be very complicated. You will think your words and sentences just as you do in ordinary conversations in your daily life when you meet people face-to-face. The computing device will pick up your thoughts, supply an audible voice for them, and relay the voice over the net. The person you are conversing with will hear the voice using speakers in his or her head. Thereafter the person at the other end will reply in the same manner. The interesting point is that if you are in a crowded space, and you want to have a private conversation with someone next to you, you will be able to do so using this technology. Nobody in the world will need to know that you are talking to each other. Basically, this will be a form of telepathy.

Similar to the messaging programmes of today, which allow you to have multiple conversations; you could be chatting simultaneously with dozens of people with the voiceless mind-reading technology of tomorrow. It is also possible to skip from one conversation to another within a fraction of a second simply by thinking it and nobody needs to know. You could be having a private conversation face-to-face with someone without using your voice and at the same time, discussing something else, with someone across the globe on a completely separate topic, with neither party knowing about the other conversation. In addition you will likely be able to do this while tuned in to the audio for both conversations, perhaps even pausing a conversation and instructing the computer silently to replay the last sentence of one party if you may have missed something.

The biggest impact of voiceless technology will be the change in the dynamics of negotiations. I could be sit in a meeting room with someone, listening to that party, with my team spread out across the world doing intense research, homework and brainstorming in real time on what I am negotiating. At the same time they would be able to give me live inputs simultaneously to influence the outcome of the negotiations. Debates will change dramatically, probably for the better, as more information and facts will flow freely to participants in real time, verified and re-verified by multiple parties and experts to raise the bar by measures not yet seen in modern history.

My personal favourite feature of this voiceless technology is that the chances of getting sore throats from constantly talking, especially if you are in a profession that requires you to do a lot of talking, will be significantly reduced.

According to the latest estimates speakerless audio has become a reality and could be used by the average consumer in 2014. We can assume that 100% voiceless communication will be a reality by before 2050. Since the technology will have a major impact, 37 years is not a long time at all, because these technologies will change the face of human society and life forever. It will be for the better. Can you imagine the peace and quiet this invention will bring? Not to mention the break it will give to your sore throat. I am looking forward to it.

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Posted by: Harish Shah

3 Responses to 2050: The Age of Voiceless Conversations

  1. [...] Glass. (I’d also like the glasses to include audio capabilities sans earpieces, which is likely to become reality soon. Google is expected to include bone-conducting audio into Glass at some point, eliminating the need [...]

  2. […]  this will happen along with mass-adoption of holographic projection or visual devices, voiceless communication technology & systems, HMDs (such as the Google Glass due for release any time within the first […]

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