Would you like to watch TV through a brain implant?
It may sound like science fiction, but film industry giant George Lucas believes it’s not too far away, according to statements he made at panel on the future of film hosted by the University of Southern California. Lucas argues that such technology is already being used to control artificial limbs.
Fellow film industry icon Steven Spielberg argued that the screen being eliminated entirely is the future of video games, and possibly movies too, according to Variety.com. Spielberg said, “We’re never going to be totally immersive as long as we’re looking at a square, whether it’s a movie screen or whether it’s a computer screen. We’ve got to get rid of that and we’ve got to put the player inside the experience, where no matter where you look you’re surrounded by a three-dimensional experience. That’s the future.”
Bye bye, smudged and clunky 3D glasses, hello…whatever that next technology is. Perhaps something similar to Google glass? Essentially, Google Glass is the framework of glasses, complete with stems and a nose pad, and where lenses would be, there is what looks like half a Viewfinder with a peephole (only accommodating one eye, which is why it’s Google Glass, not Google Glasses). Google Glass promotes its users’ ability to surf the web while going through daily life, for instance, having your hands stuck in marinara sauce while needing a recipe. However, it could be used as a viewing device as well, and the image would be generated from INSIDE the Google Glass.
The Google Glass looks sci-fi creepy, but there are surely folks out there who don’t mind that and would wear them all the time for the convenience. This takes the place of a smart phone, a TV, a tablet, and a lot more.
But would you go under the knife to have a chip surgically implanted in your head so you could experience your favorite flick or video game as a “totally immersive” experience?
Lucas is probably right, and this new chip is likely being developed as I write, probably by Google.
It’s just a little too Big Brother for me.
The end of the screen
So let’s say that Spielberg is right and we get rid of the screen altogether for entertainment purposes.
Call me hopelessly old school, but I’m going to miss it a hell of a lot. Yes, it’s what my brain is used to, but it’s more than that.
Having a screen that people can look at together as a shared experience is special. Whether it’s a family watching TV together, friends playing video games together, or an audience watching a movie at the cinema, having our eyes directed in the same place means that we are connecting, like looking at a painting at an art museum together. With movies, we can look at the screen, and (unless we are wearing 3D glasses) look at each other and make eye contact. With the new immersive experience it’s going to be different because we imagine we are seeing the same thing, but are we really?
Watching TV or a movie with through a chip in our heads, we would essentially be looking at nothing together, just staring into space as we focused on the movie playing in our heads. Weird.
Something inside me knows that Spielberg’s instinct is correct. He’s the visionary after all. The screens will go away. But will we lose something more, and become even more disconnected? Human interaction is already mediated by so many devices. The devices are becoming smaller and will probably become invisible.
Will we still be capable of those truly shared human experiences that the movies bring us?
Only time, and Google, will tell.