One Thought Ordering

The idea that there is a “buy button” in the brain which clever marketers can push has been bandied about for years. While I remain skeptical that any marketing technique could work that magically, Intel is working on a new kind of buy button: brain implants that would let you control your computer with your thoughts:

Intel research scientist Dean Pomerleau told Computerworld that users will soon tire of depending on a computer interface, and having to fish a device out of their pocket or bag to access it. He also predicted that users will tire of having to manipulate an interface with their fingers. Instead, they’ll simply manipulate their various devices with their brains.

“We’re trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves,” said Pomerleau. “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed … to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

To get to that point Pomerleau and his research teammates from Intel, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, are currently working on decoding human brain activity. [From Computerworld – Intel: Chips in brains will control computers by 2020 by Sharon Gaudin.]

While such technology, if proven workable, would dramatically affect just about every area of human/computer interface design, neuromarketing devotees might find it interesting to speculate on its specific effects on Web commerce…

Would the barrier between thinking about buying a product and actually doing so be reduced if there was no “buy now” button that required a mouse click?

Would it be easier to think, “Buy it!” than to go through the typical “add to cart” scenario of today, and would conversion rates increase?

And, the most pressing question, will Amazon try to lock up “One Thought Ordering” much as they did by patenting the “one click” order concept?

Intel predicts that the technology will be available in 2020.

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