I had the honor of spending some quality time with Chris Penn at the Vocus Demand Success event. First, I will tell you that Chris is literally the smartest person I’ve ever met. He’s scary brilliant. Second, it’s rare that we get to dive into topics as deeply as we did that week and when we do my mind is always blown.
One of the things he mentioned while we were participating in the Content Boom panel was that the technology for us to literally create with our minds isn’t that far away. He described it as us actually creating and welcoming a transition into what many would consider to be a cyborg existence. I’ll let him provide you with all of the scientific details on this, if he’s interested. But I’ve been noodling on the idea of this since then and thought it was worth a post.
Imagine thinking and having your thoughts automatically turned into a document
This sounds awesome doesn’t it! Instead of typing this blog post I’d simply think it into existence. My thoughts would generate the post and I’d simply think yes, publish that and it would. Or if I’m thinking about how data flows through an organization it would miraculously be modeled in my head and then turned into a document I could turn over to a client with a simple acknowledgement in my head that it was ready. Wow! Think about the hours of time it would save it we no longer had to transcribe our thoughts into words or visual presentations. When we think about the bottleneck that actual content “creation” causes it could solve the time constraint problem we typically run into. At that point, truly anyone could create content in minutes, but does it have a downside?
Is the risk of producing at the speed of thought, quality?
When you create content does it come out right the first time? The answer is probably no. I can only speak for my own process, but many times my first thought is not what ends up on paper. Instead I go through all of the different angles in my head and that thought process is what ends up refining what is worth writing about. Then when I write I finalize the key points and write to each point. I go over and over each paragraph, tweaking the words until finally a post is born.
While the idea sounds really enticing, I’m a little terrified about what my mind would produce. Honestly, it’s a bit of a jungle in my brain and I’m not sold on the idea that my thoughts are the best thing to put on digital paper. My mind doesn’t think like a storyteller, I go down rabbit holes; zig zag through ideas and ultimately nothing is cemented until my fingers actually touch the key board. Frankly, many times it isn’t until I see something on screen before I realize how good or bad it really is. The thought of publishing before having that last moment of visual clarity of the screen horrifies me a bit. I’m deeply concerned about the quality of what would come out of any of us in an environment like this. Would it be better or worse? Frankly, I have a hard time even using a speech to text translator because I don’t speak the same way I write either.
If everyone could produce content by thinking it, would we end up with a lot of bad content from people who really shouldn’t be publishing anything at all? What would happen to journalism and to the writing profession? What if this technology turned everyone into a writer? Would that be a good or a bad thing?
Do we need a filter for our thoughts?
I would say the biggest risk factor for me is the lack of a filter a solution like this would provide. Just imagine all of your thoughts ending up in a published state without a filter between your brain and the publish button. Would we end up with a new term for what we now call the troll in social comments? Should everyone really publish whatever they think, any time they think it?
I guess you could argue that everyone really does in today’s world anyway, but everyone filters to a certain extent even if we don’t agree with how they filter. For me, this could open a can of worms that could never be unopened. As far as it relates to our panel’s discussion on content shock it could amplify the overabundance of content at lighting speed.
How would you change your content strategy in this new thought-driven world?
We already have more content than our audiences could reasonably consume. How would this impact your content strategy? How would you stand out? Frankly, how would this change how we consume content?
This is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, but Chris says we are closer to this than we realize. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about the outcomes.
What risk factors do you see with this type of technology? What opportunities could it present? Leave a comment to join the conversation.
And as always, thank you Chris Penn for making my mind work in ways I didn’t know were possible!