Thinking about Neural Interfaces

Elon Musk is at it again.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO teased that he may have an announcement about “neural lace,” a concept he first brought up at Vox Media’s Code Conference in June, coming next month on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Neural lace is a technology idea to directly link neural cognition with a computer. It is not a new idea, though in the past it was discussed as something that might occur well in the future.

Well, that future may appear faster than we thought. Why type in content when it can appear directly from the brain? Why not indeed. At best, this might be the next step beyond AI-powered devices like Echo. Why talk to an Echo when you thoughts could do the trick directly?

At the worst, this might be very, very intrusive. Fred Wilson ponders that potential today. My own vision is this.

We will need an AI-powered avatar that we use to interact with the digital world.  Think of it like your digital butler or personal assistant.  I call it a meta-bot. The meta-bot has the job of talking to you and listening to you. And it has the job of executing your orders. And it has the job of filtering requests for contacts from other bots.

For example, let’s say you are considering a trip to the food store. Your meta-bot knows your food and drink preferences and knows what you have and don’t have on hand, as well as your budget. As you think through what you want to buy, it will create your shopping list, check for best prices at stores (including online services) and communicate with bots from those stores about availability and prices. You might not need a trip to the store after this (everything might be delivered), or if you wish, you might go for a physical trip. When you get to the store, your meta-bot may ask if you want to interact directly with the store bot for information about sales, etc.. When you get back home — and if you wish —  your meta-bot will provide you with recipes and instructions on how to make your meal. That might include information about health, etc. You might want to record especially pleasing meals, calendar them and share them with selected friends. All by just thinking.

My guess is that the first step will be to develop meta-bot cognitive interfaces.

Sound interesting?


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