PS9 video – coordination complexity

By | April 21, 2008

via George,

An amusing take on what entertainment might be like 50 years from now.

How plausible is full sensory experience and interface like this by the date offered in the video (2062)?

Right now, it might look like far future fiction, but I’m fairly sure that’s not the case. Enabling technologies necessary for virtual reality of this level either exist already, are in development, or are at least theoretically possible.

The nanomachines necessary seem almost inevitable, particularly as the necessary components for these (antenna, propulsion, power) are in development, with experimental devices either complete or nearing completion. Similarly, the computing power necessary also seems easily achievable.

So, to me, the main remaining obstacle is complexity. That is, while we can create the necessary devices, and produce the necessary content, can we string these all together into the necessary engineered systems? We’re pretty awful at this sort of thing when it comes to building large scale software solutions, largely because of the need for rapid change and adaptation. It seems that brain interfaces of this fidelity must adapt quite precisely to the neural topology of the individual, and it would seem that these must vary widely at the level of neurons, meaning that any engineered system interfacing with the brain must be heavily customizable to accomodate this.

This, by the way, is my general concern with some of the technology ideals before us – I trust our ability to invent and create devices, but I don’t trust our ability to coordinate them.