Musing #12: Realization of thoughts


Thought is the great equalizer. If there is one thing that is democratic about humanity, it is the ability to think. Granted, the topic and quality of thought would vary immensely but that in itself is the epitome of individuality. However, a billion thoughts die premature deaths every day for the want of an avenue to express themselves. 

The field of science and technology is immeasurably dependent on the thought process. Thoughts allow one to transcend the limitations of the physical world and thus put forth an otherworldly proposition. No one would argue the impact of Einstein’s thought experiment on the Theory of Special Relativity or the Chinese Room one on AI (an ironical choice in the context of thinking). It is the basic construct of innovation and invention even as execution remains another beast altogether.

What this leads us to is the need for technology to facilitate the realization of thoughts. Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding have given a glimpse of how the adage “two minds are better than one” still holds true. In spite of the proverbial smaller world, the connection of minds is often asynchronous to begin with and is much easily realized through tangibility. As much as command line usage can have an air of expertise (and arrogance) about it, it is in fact the GUI that revolutionized the world of computing with its connection to the masses. Higher level languages significantly increased the outreach of programming than low level languages ever would have. In a similar vein, the need of the hour is the facilitation of thought realization.

While most of this seems to be pervading the realms of science fiction for now, one can see technology coming to the fore. Augmented reality for one can help build up on thoughts that exist within the surrounding environment. Those that transcend it might have to take recourse to words for now but one needn’t be too prescient to see the day when one can instantly visualize their thoughts and share the same. To that end, direct neural interface seems to be the best bet. As paradoxical as it may seem, thoughts are often limited by abilities and the world’s gauge has a predilection for the latter. The course of technology as an enabler has been well charted and in the end it will always be the thought that counts. This also begs the question - what happens when computers start thinking?

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