Dig deeper

After last week’s blog, I received a suggestion by my teachers to dig deeper into the subject of the Ted Talk by Avi Goldberg and the relationship between that Ted Talk and my core subject, people with a disability. So that’s what I’m going to do!

What’s the first step?

First, let’s discussed the Ted Talk.  The Ted Talk was about the use of brain interfaces to control machines. If you haven’t seen the Ted Talk yet, do that first. Otherwise it might get a little confusing.

First, let’s discussed the content of the Ted Talk. I want to point out the two main points of this Ted Talk, which are:

Brain interfaces are compatible with almost every machine. They are becoming more accessible, because everything is becoming small and cheaper. Which means that there will be new and more possibilities, like:

  • assistive technology (but can be slow and impossible)
  • gives inside in mind (mental training
  • can help you understand yourself better

It also has a scary side, which isn’t really something new. There are always people who use new technology for good or bad. But is up to the consumer to help maneuver the way things are going. This can be done in two ways:

  • Creator: keep creating, we need it. But respect the people who use it and their privacy.
  • Users: be aware what data is created and who is behind it.

Good to know, so….?

But what relevance does this have for people with a disability? This means that people with a disability will be more independent in the future.  They will be able to take better care of themselves, and might be able to do jobs that they are not able to do right now. For instance: working at an office or even a certain amount of physical work.

But it also means that they should be more careful. When using such device they must be certain that the data created and provided by the brain interface is not used for something bad. Like advertising or other parties that want to profit.

Are they ready for such a change?

I discussed this all with my mother. She is a nurse that has work with people with a disability for over 25 years. I told her about the findings in this Ted Talk and her responds was the following:


“This is a great solution, especially for people with a physical disability. It makes it easier for those people to communicate and do what they want. For people with a mental disability, I think it is another case. I’ve worked with people with a mental disability for a very long time. Especially, epileptic people. I think for those people it would be more difficult to implement this technology, because of the defect in their brains. That causes the epileptic.”

I also asked her about her own job as a nurse. How she would think this specific development could change her own work. And she said the following:

“I think it would be amazing if I would be able to understand people who are just lying in a wheelchair drooling. It would help us, nurses, immensely if we would know what the needs would be of those people. The parents of those people do supply us with information. But there are so many of us and so many patients we have to help. That we don’t always remember everything by heart. This would make my job as a nurse much easier.”

I do understand where my mom is coming from. I think it would be marvelous if we would be able to understand people. We were never able to fully understand before. What makes it able for us to help them more sufficient that we ever could.

I really want to know what you guys think of the use of brain interfaces in the lives of people with a disability. Do you think it’s good, or something bad? Feel free to leave a comment.


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