The technology behind this is actually quite old if you look in any psychology text book so for a graduate of psychology this news isn't a breakthrough. Scientists have long been able to convert brain waves into characters or other forms of output. According to most textbooks I read in university, it took about a minute or so for a single letter.
Wired reports back in 2005 that we already have brain computer interface experiments to improve the quality of life of the quadriplegics. As you can read from the article it is unfortunately exhausting to the person. Anyway, the wikipedia article on brain-computer interface is a good starting point for more info.
Readwriteweb is definitely right in saying that the student is riding pop culture by using Twitter to upload that information
So where does that leave us with brain-computer interface? Well Readwrite web has an article on The Internet Brain Implant: Why We Should Say No. In my opinion however, here are a couple of good reasons we should get a brain implant:
- Humans are social animals - Humans love to share info. Look at mobile phone texting and e-mail. We have stories about teenagers who text nonstop!
- Net Generation - Our generation is more comfortable with technology and the internet. In two or three generations who knows what a 10 year old will be able to do on the internet? For them having a brain implant might be as indispensable as a new mobile phone for a teenager's social life. Readwriteweb says that mobile is moving fast but that's precisely why we will end up with brain implants. It's becomes more acceptable to augment yourself with technology. And a brain implant is lighter and easier than having to carry a phone around.
- Better Quality of Life - Truth is, our quality of life has been improving thanks to technology. Brain-computer interfaces might be the way might be a way for people with disabilities to be even more productive. As above, a quadriplegic might still lead a very productive life as a designer or a magazine editor.
- Better Life Opportunities - Parents are often concerned with making sure children do their best at school. This is why parents buy computers and subscribe to broadband internet even if they don't use it for themselves. They recognise that information technology is essential for their children's future.
- Digital Divide - In a similar vein, developing nations like China, Singapore and Korea know that IT is the way of the future. Part of their rapid growth and improvement in standard of living is due to the high-tech industries located within these countries. They will be pursuing this avenue if they believe it will increase their economic growth, I guarantee it.