The Future of Communication

Is this the next big thing?

Is this the next big thing?

Gavin Leavitt, Staff Writer

As civilization has developed, humans have always strived for better forms of communication. Improvements in technology have led to more sophisticated, more efficient, and faster ways to talk. From Morse telegraphs in 1844 and Bell telephones in 1876 to ARPANET electronic mail in 1982 and the first SMS message in 1992, technology has allowed humans to talk more freely and across huge distances. In the modern world, it’s commonplace to be able to almost instantly send a text message to a friend or family member at any time. Computers, smartphones, and tablets allow us to send complex electronic messages with images, videos, and other multimedia. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to communicate in groups and broadcast messages to the public. Services like Skype and Apple FaceTime allow for video phone calls, once the stuff of science fiction.

   Our modes of communication will advance as our technology does. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created technology which interprets different frequencies of electric signals in the brain to Tweets. Dubbed “Twitter Telepathy” by tech/entertainment site Wired, this experiment sheds light on a possible future of communication. As brain-to-computer interfaces improve, our capabilities to speak with only our minds will greatly expand. It’s possible that extremely advanced interfaces could allow for instantaneous brain-powered text or audio messaging, a sort of virtual telepathy.

Another possible future for communication is quantum computing. The processes used in quantum computing are too complicated to describe here, but in short, quantum computers are capable of holding much more information and transmitting information at greater speeds. Although no actual quantum computers have been created, scientists have succeeded in creating algorithms for use in quantum computing. Scientists from around the world working in cooperation have also successfully teleported a single qubit, or quantum bit, of information from the island La Palma to the island of Tenerife. Quantum teleportation is a key component of quantum computing, and one of the stepping stones to a future of a faster, bigger, and more efficient internet: the quantum internet.

Even though telepathy and teleportation seem like ideas reserved for works of fiction, technology that will use those concepts isn’t too far away. Before long, humans could be speaking in each other’s minds instead of text messaging and using social networking on a quantum internet.