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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two Future Inventions

One future invention (not too far down the road) which I believe will have an enormous impact on learning: The ability to wear goggles (or some other device over or in the eye) which use pattern recognition to identify features in one's environment and then query databases, such as Wikipedia (or search engines) which are wirelessly connected to grab live information from the web. You could be strolling in the park and see some animal that you'd like to know more about (or to generate sounds back at it!) or wish to identify some material, etc. Yes, films like the Terminator have popularized this kind of item from a militaristic angle, but the learning potential is far greater (and more important).

One socially interesting invention of the future I see is to be able to use the "telepathic" devices that detect tiny vibrations in one's vocal cords (or perhaps brain-related ones) to transmit one's thoughts (willingly!) to those in one's immediate environment, including even strangers--anyone who has such a device. Of course, there is a potential for auto-translation, even customized to the listener (though I still believe that an official world auxiliary language is even more important). Imagine walking down the street and being able to 'hear' others thoughts to those who have chosen to broadcast them, whether they are targeted to specific person(s) or just to anyone willing to listen. The thoughts could thus be ignored or responded to (even anonymously). Could make walking among strangers a more interesting and even instructive experience (not to mention socially engaging)...

No doubt others have thought of these, and if I cared to search the net, I probably could find something, but I'll leave that for now to any would-be commenters... :)

One idea I still can't believe no one's implemented are "real" chat rooms. Places like a coffee house where you can go and where people set up tables to discuss specific topics. Yes, there are book clubs, etc., but I'm talking about a more exact analogue for online chat rooms--where people have an excuse to talk to and meet others, around some subject rather than from a frequently physical angle...


  • I'm sure you know that there already is a "world auxiliary language" - Esperanto. It is not official in any way, but does have a widespread speech community who opt in of their own free will.

    By Blogger Bill Chapman, at Thursday, 23 October, 2008  

  • Hi Bill,

    Yes, thanks. I actually set up a website to promote the idea of an official one being adopted by governments, and a number of Esperantists helped out, but I haven't gotten around to reviving it again. :(

    While free will is great, and I support those who have taken efforts in that area, I also believe in standards and democratic choice at the societal level, or otherwise, there can be fractiousness as well as an inadequate channeling of the great efforts such as Esperantists have taken toward promoting a world auxiliary language.

    And, while I certainly would not be opposed to any language being chosen as a world auxiliary language, if it were done by democratic consensus, I prefer not to espouse particular languages (or even exclude an existing language as a possible choice), since I feel it is more important to get people to the table and to get a vote by representatives of national governments, because:
    1) Some people are inclined against Esperanto, etc., yet are open to the idea of a global democratic choice
    2) this is an issue which concerns not only those already inclined to an international outlook and values of fairness (such as valued by Esperantists), but also for those in general who at least recognize the economic and social disadvantages created for any society where immigrants, minorities, travelers, and web surfers face an inability to express, learn, or communicate.

    The "center" often attracts the most interest and support, and while people can preserve and promote their preference for a language (especially when it becomes more meaningful to debate which language should be chosen), I believe not taking "sides" may be the most helpful approach to garnering more interest.

    Just my opinion though...

    By Blogger Brett, at Thursday, 23 October, 2008  

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