Setting the Scenario

This is a chapter from a book that I thought I was going to write, called The Brain Revolution

It is an odd scenario. In a room that looks like a cozy TV-room, three people are sitting in chairs back to back in a rather tight circle. On the floor in the middle of the circle stands a computer. The computer is connected with wires to what looks like swimming caps on each individuals head. All three look as if they are sleeping, in the comfortable looking chairs.

These people are designing a house. One of them has just bought a little piece of land, and is sitting here with her architect and an engineer laying out the details of her future home. Using the equipment in this room, these 3 people can think as one mind. The equipment enables them to pool together their different fields of expertise and preferences, giving brainstorming a whole new level of meaning.

As they work out more and more details of the house, the computer in the middle gathers their thoughts, creating on the fly the architectural drawings, the wiring plan, the color codes for the paint on the walls, the kitchen interiors and so on. The product of the session is a detailed three dimensional drawing of the house including all the details they have thought of so far. If it later needs to be refined, another session will be started and changes made as needed. Others will also come in to work on the finer details and give artistic input. What is certain is that once someone is connected to the equipment he or she will have as clear picture of the design as anyone involved in the project thus far has thought them through. The equipment also makes sure that when more than one person is working on the project simultaneously, their communications are completely seamless and the time spent on explaining different views and possibilities is reduced to the time it takes to think of them.

This is roughly the thought that I spent one night in the spring of 1997 thinking about, marveling at the possibilities that technology like this would enable if it existed. I allowed it to go wild in my mind, not bothered by the fact how utterly impossible it is to implement.

You can probably, just as well as I, improvise around the narrative above and find numerous different and more interesting samples of how such technology could be put to use. I will get back to more examples of my own later on.
This idea has ever since kept popping up in my head. This has been one of those ideas that rather feels like it had you, than you had it. I started looking into the practicalities involved. What would be needed to implement this kind of technology? What is the status of the sciences and technologies that would be involved? What would be the stepping stones on the way from here to there, and would these stepping stones maybe be of significant interest in themselves? Is there maybe an impossible hurdle somewhere on the way? If so, what is it and how close could we get?

On and off during this time Ive been seeking the answers to these questions and even though I dont have much of the answers yet, my findings on the way have been interesting in themselves.

In what follows, I want to share some of these findings. As you will probably already have realized, the opening scenario is still far-fetched science fiction. At the same time the building blocks for it are being made and what will be made of them will be fascinating, regardless of whether we will ever reach this opening scenario or pass far beyond it.

We are at the dawn of the Brain Revolution.