One Thought Ordering: The New Buy Button


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.

  1. Burak BABACAN says

    This is quite interesting. Response from subconscious to outside stimulus is always faster than any conscious thought process. Emotions act as the automatic pilot of human software. So, where do we end up if the actions are directly linked to brain activities ? I guess this is the ultimate “buy-button”. If purchase process gets faster and faster, whoever gets a good understanding of the robotic behavior of human species will ride the wave. I think now I know where I will invest if I have some money somehow.

  2. Ed Martin says

    I’m looking forward to hearing the civil libertarians on this one. Just the legal and ethical fights over doing this will take as much time as developing the technology.

  3. R says

    Gives a whole new meaning to “Intel Inside!”

  4. lou suSi says

    The technological aspects of this will surely happen at some level — we will be able to communicate ( and can today ) directly through our brain to computing machines. What I believe no one is looking at yet is retweaking consumerism.

    Current downslides on the financial end of the digitization of nearly every aspects of our lives — our move from a manufacturing, industrial era into The Information Age — proves that new economic modeling is needed and is needed fast. The main issue with moving from a capitalist-consumerism into whatever the next financial underpinnings of our new, modernized, virtual age concerns the political, philosophical, ideological. We’ve wrongly associated the concepts of freedom and democracy with the true social Darwinism we’ve been dealing with for far too long. Once we can decouple the purposefully confounded philosophical ties from the reality of our socioeconomic drivers, we might be able to more clinically assess the financial issues that accompany the digital era ( look at the music industry as an example of how virtual productization can ‘rock your world’ — pun intended ) and start a much-needed redesign exercise that may even bring new concepts of what democracy and freedom can be — perhaps a democracy closer to philosophical, ideal vision established by the founding fathers of the actual concept.

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