Friday, 22 April 2011

Our brainwaves are #analogue, so will we become incompatible with #digital technology?

In the UK, analogue TV ceased to exist at the end of March 2011 and digital TV was formally phased in. Good old analogue technology is disappearing and being replaced by digital at every turn, apparently this is a good thing. However, there is one exception, us humans; believe it or not, we are analogue beings.
If you're non-technically minded, analogue signals are a waveform which vary in frequency (cycles per second or Hertz, one cycle being a wavelength) and vary in amplitude (strength of cycle); whereas digital is a binary pulse "waveform". They are completely incompatible with each other, hence the requirement of a "set top box" to convert the digital signal to an analogue one so a picture can be viewed on an old telly (a D to A converter).
If you're a human and speak English you'll be familiar with phrases such as "on the same wavelength", "in tune with each other", "being in sync" and "things resonating with us". That's because all our thoughts and brain activity take place in analogue. Allegedly, each of our thoughts has a different wavelength and there is a theory (written in a number of books of varying credibility) that individuals attract "like-minded" thinkers; people thinking the same things and transmitting and receiving on the same frequency. Thankfully, there is also some scientific proof to all this and about the frequency of our "brainwaves":

Beta: 15Hz to 18Hz and is the frequency associated with problem solving and decision making thoughts.
Alpha: 8Hz to 12 Hz is when we feel calm and the bridge between conscious and sub-conscious.
Theta: 4Hz to 8Hz the transition stage between sleep and being awake.
Delta: 0Hz to 4Hz is either deep sleep or feeling empathy.
There's not a digital bit, byte, hexadecimal 0 to F, or binary 1 or 0 in sight.

So a couple of things struck me:
  • As a human race, we are developing artificial intelligence using digital technology, that can demonstrate human characteristics of learning, personality and decision making. If we are successful, are we on the verge of developing something that could supersede ourselves; be able to communicate more effectively with each other and therefore make humans obsolete? (Terminator stuff)
  • Is the human race evolving to learn to communicate digitally? Are we changing the way our brains work? This may explain some personality characteristics of Generation Y such as "text speak" wtf!, other binary language "innit", being social virtually instead of social in the real world and demonstrating that a verbal grunt is in fact a digital pulse.
  • Will the speed of technology advancement out pace evolution?
I'm obviously talking nonsense, and this is a sign of me getting old, plus having a week in the wilderness, away from computers, may have done something to my own thought process, but writing it down helps me get it off my chest and out of my head.
Note to self: to remain as analogue as possible.
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