Gabe Newell is the co-founder of Valve, and he is one of the pioneers in virtual realities and pushing the limits of reality. He recently sat down with IGN to discuss the company’s newest game, the promise of virtual reality, and how his project of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) is coming along. He had a lot to say, and we will unpack it below.
“Personally, the area I’m spending a lot of time on has been growing out of a bunch of research that occurred a while ago in brain-computer interfaces,” Newell tells IGN. “And I think that’s kind of long-lead stuff. That’s kind of the background thread that I get pulled back into when other things aren’t demanding my attention.”
Newell continues saying that “In the brain-computer stuff, we’re way closer to ‘the Matrix’ than people realize. It’s not going to be The Matrix […] it’s a movie that misses all the interesting technical subtleties and just how weird the post brain-computer interface world is going to be. It’s going to have a huge impact on the kinds of experiences that we can create for people.”
Newell says that there is still a lot to do, and making this merge with AI for a perfect experience is hard to imagine, let alone explain. He says that “It would be like trying to describe the Internet to someone who’s never used the Internet before.” Seems challenging enough. Is there anything that is easier about this project? Newell continued to expound.
“I think connecting to people’s motor cortex and visual cortex is going to be way easier than people expected and doing things like […] reading and writing to somebody’s motor cortex is way more of a tractable problem than making people feel ‘cold’. And you never would have guessed that. And I never would have guessed that before going into it. It turns out your brain has really good interfaces for some things and really badly designed, kludgy interfaces for doing other things. And the fact that your immune system gets involved in your perception of temperature means there’s all sorts of weird parts of your brain that participate in the sensation of being cold, whereas your motor cortex [or] your visual cortex are much more tractable problems.”
There is a lot more to dive into. We won’t be covering the full 30-minute video. But if you are interested in catching the full interview and are captivated like us, check it out below! For more VR news and gaming community updates, make sure to check back at VRGear.com.