Sunday, July 30, 2006

So it's happening, then. Google is officially taking over the universe. Or at least the part of it that we live in.

We all oohed and ahhed when Google Earth came out a year ago. We all saw what it was like for a bird flying over our houses, we visited Hawaii while doing our problem sets, we scouted the moutains of Afghanistan in search of bin Laden, and we hopped from New York to Paris to London without wasting a single cent on airfare. But now, now the real fun is beginning. Because we all hated the 2-dimensional feel to the wonderful playground that was Google Earth. But with the release of GoogleEarth 4.0 Beta and SketchUp, we now have the ability to create the GoogleEarth world itself. Business can invite customers into their lavishly furnished office buildings, home owners can tempt potential buyers with their elaborately decorated mansions. Window shoppers can meander through the finest boutiques anywhere in the world. All they need to do is introduce avatars, and the metaverse will be complete. Our worlds will be virtual, especially as the physical barriers between man and machine diminish.

And they will diminish. I often wonder how much progress has been made on Sony's patent made last year, for a game system capable of beaming sensory input directly into your brain. The media has of course been buzzing about the recent advances in neural implants (Neural Ensemble Control of Prosthetic Devices by a Human with Tetraplegia). And top-notch scientists such as Stu Wolf at DARPA, particularly DARPA's DSO (aka "DARPA's DARPA"), expect to see computers directly linked to our brains all of the time by 2020. What do you say to the prospect of a world that surpasses our biological constraints, within 20 years?

I sure hope so...


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