From Cavemen to brain signals being read onto a computer screen

I met Herschell Gordon Lewis back in 1994, when my husband and I launched a necktie catalog and turned to Herschell for some marketing guidance. Back then Herschell was quite the character and has become the ever-so popular author of 31 books and the quintessential marketing genius of today. What I love about Herschell is that he writes from his heart, tells it like it is, and could care less about who he offends. In an article in Chief Marketer.com last month, Herschel made a claim that few historians will be able to argue with … that the Fifth Age of Communication is right around the corner...

Herschell notes, the First Age began in prehistoric times consisting of cavemen drawing on walls and monks scribbling manuscripts. The Second Age commenced in the early to mid-15th century with the invention of movable type with the linotype soon to follow. The Third Age marked the birth of the wireless transmission thanks to Marconi and Tesla, and the first commercial radio station went on the air in 1920. The Fourth Age stems from the 1980s, when the Internet made one-to-one marketing on a mass basis possible...and ahh, ain't Google grand?

Herschell brilliantly reflected that with the maturation of each Age, the dominant medium changed, but did not eliminate the others, interestingly enough. People continue to copy by hand, publications still exist, and books continue to sell by the billions. Broadcast stations are loaded with commercials, and cable stations offer a fare to suit every taste or lack of taste. Is a Fifth Age possible?

the day the earth stood still.JPG

Herschell's pretty sure of it, since a viewing of the recent remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still where Keanu Reeves stars as an informational android with a USB-plug in his head.

The idea fascinated me, could brain-to-brain communication really exist? I guess we're on the right track, a story in Business Week commented on the current "electroencephalography" trend, where sensors read the brain's faint electrical signals, and the wearer can change the image on a computer monitor just by thinking it. Emotiv has taken gaming a step further by selling the first-generation gadget, Epoc, for about $300, promising to deliver mind-inspired game play like nothing ever seen before.

The Fifth Age may be closer than we, or Keanu ever imagined.


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