Brace yourselves – mind reading technology is officially on its way! Facebook’s experimental technologies division a.k.a. Building 8 have announced that they’re working on ‘optical neuro-imaging systems’. In other words Facebook is attempting to develop a mind reading technology that would enable people to convey and type messages with their brain at up to 100 words per minute. Along with letting you type with your thoughts, the group has also hinted at its’ plans of allowing you to “hear with your skin”. In other words, a device could possibly let a person feel various vibrations on their skin which will then translate to words in the brain.
This type of brain-computer-interface technology has been confirmed by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg who stated that technology will “one day … let you communicate using only your mind”. However, the major barrier that prevents the advancement of this technology has been to make it as non-invasive as possible so that external sensors are capable of detecting internal brain waves.
Imagine being able to communicate messages and thoughts with your friends and family without having to open your mouth. This could also have immense applications in deaf and disabled people that no longer have to see or hear to communicate effectively.
Mind-Reading technology could allow people to send texts, check emails and open apps within a matter of seconds. Imagine sitting on your couch and being able to control switch channels on TV using your thoughts instead of reaching for the remote!
Regina Dugan (chief executive of the Building 8 group) hinted at this notion saying, “You may be able to share your thoughts independent of language: English Spanish or Mandarin, they become the same”. So say goodbye to Google Translate and hello to locals on holidays who’d be able to understand you as if you were speaking their own language.
The experimentation of mind reading technology isn’t new or limited to the Facebook social media giant. In recent years, many scientists and developers have made tremendous developments in the area of decoding human thoughts. A few include:
Furthermore, in late 2013 scientists at the Ben-Gurion University of Israel took brain decoding one step further by using high frequency magnetic impulses in order to stimulate the brain and change human behaviour. The study caused heavy smokers to cut down or quit smoking altogether by transmitting messages to areas of smoker’s brains. If mind-reading technology takes off, it’s scary to think of other behaviour that it could be used to control or change.
This brings us to question the ethicality of mind-reading technology. Is it ethical to read-minds of people against their will? Will mind-read thoughts be given the same worth as actions? For example – If you thought about shoplifting but didn’t actually shoplift, would you suffer the same consequences? And finally, since machines will be able to read the brain easily, would the next step be mind-control?
Nevertheless, the promise of mind reading technology in the near future is both exciting and exhilarating. Follow QMS for the latest updates on all things technology, web and multimedia. So what do you think? Is mind reading technology an amazing idea or will it be the end of privacy as we know it? Comment below!