Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Taking the discussion further from my previous post on this blog, let us see what happens when people will communicate by just thinking. A user, A, will think of the person he wishes to communicate with, B, and will ask (or "think") the phone to connect. The phone with B will alert him by giving a thought signal. B will quickly compose himself, prepare to accept A's thought call, bring up his previous interactions with A in his active memory and thoughts and will ask his phone to accept the call.
Now the fun starts. The thoughts flow two-ways between A and B, which will include information, opinions, view points, feelings, creative ideas and a sense of eventual agreement between the two. Not a word is spoken. When we talk, we convert our thoughts - which are parallel (a bunch of interdependent ideas that exist in our minds, including logical and illogical aspects) - into speech, which is serial, i.e., things are said and heard only one by one not concurrently. This serial communication is usually insufficient. A lot of things remain unsaid and misunderstood but with parallel communication, both the users will be able to clearly "experience" each other's thought process and the point of view, and therefore a far closer agreement at least in some sense.
I know that there are a lot of ifs and buts for this scenario to materialise (Must we always speak truth then, if the other person can read our thoughts? Will the phones need to parse our thoughts? What will be the abstract nature of this thought interface -- consider this: Three friends talking in thought about sharing the bill in a restaurant last night. One guy paid Rs. 2,435 for all the three. While thinking can they invoke a calculator in a computer or phone and get the value of 2,435/3? Similarly, if an entrepreneur is talk-thinking with an investor, can they invoke Google, search for a market study report, find expected market size next year, correlate their product and target segment in it and make a sales forecast -- all in thoughts? What about unclear sub-conscious thoughts like fear, greed, temptation, liking, taste, pride, shame, etc. These are those thoughts which play a role in our communication but we don't want others to know about them; often, even we are not aware of these thoughts guiding our opinions!) but for a moment let us ignore these things.
I would like to talk about the agreement that will result between the two persons when they talk-think. An entrepreneur genuinely trying to convince an investor will be able to communicate his true vision to the investor. And in turn, will be able to appreciate the investor's concerns. They might be able to build a mutual plan for realising the opportunity taking in account all concerns. All this will happen much faster if they can experience each other's thinking process. Today, based on speech and even on PowerPoint, Excel presentations, this process still takes long, is painful and most often actually doesn't work.
Consider this - I am trying to convince an investor to invest in a project. The investor agrees that the idea is superb, the market is huge, the value is great, etc. but he feels that the technology is unproven and therefore risky. I believe that technology risk is much more known, verifiable and controllable than other possible risks, say, market risk (not being able to generate sales). I would even like to point to the investor about his other investments where the technology was proven but the risk due to unknown market demand was much more than the technology risk here. Talk-thinking could perhaps resolve this conflict.
Investor-entrepreneur scenario is just an example. I hold the view that if two individuals could really experience each other's thought process, they will have far greater respect and agreement with each other. Consider George Bush and Osama B. Laden -- the two most apart people in the world today. If these two guys, including their cronies, could experience each other's thought process and beliefs truthfully, a lot of things could change dramatically. Perhaps there wouldn't be any need for OBL to do 9/11 and the need for GWB to carpet bomb the hutments in huge swathes of Mid-East Asia.