Last week I posted a short bit about retinal scans as a type of warning of the upcoming future. Little did I know that things could get a whole lot more scary, albeit interesting – sooner than later. Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, for the Telegraph UK has written a piece on Intel Labs who are busy designing processors which can read human thought. Life as a human, my friends, is taking a turn.
“Unlike current brain-controlled computers, which require users to imagine making physical movements to control a cursor on a screen, the new technology will be capable of directly interpreting words as they are thought.”
That’s just super, I think, and I guess Intel can know that too. They use a process of mapping brain patterns associated with words and ultimately will be able to scan brains and know what you are thinking by running algorithms that process the patterns with Intel efficiency.
“We are currently mapping out the activity that an average brain produces when thinking about different words. It means you’ll be able to write letters, open emails or do Google searches just by thinking,” says Dean Pomerleau, a senior researcher at Intel Laboratories.
Intel already have a working prototype that can detect words such as “screwdriver”, “house” and “barn”, by measuring around 20,000 points in the brain. But as brain scanning technology becomes more sophisticated the computer’s ability to distinguish thoughts will improve.
At the moment, headsets must be worn to enable the scanning, but as with all technologies this restriction will change over time and it won’t be long before some sort of electromagnetic field will be able to pick up patterns from a distance. Mark my words! You’ll walk through a scanning device at the airport or the border and the security officials will be able to pick up on what you are thinking and associate that with why you are sweating bullets.
Combine this with the retinal scanning scattered all over the city and now security officials will know who you are, where you are and what you are thinking. If this isn’t Minority Report coming true, I don’t know what it is. With the rapid pace of technological change, (we’ll have computers smarter than human brains within the next 20 years at the most) we are going to reshape societies all over this globe into those who are very connected and those who inhabit the fringes of society.
With the ability for computers to read thoughts just around the corner, the next thing they’ll “read” is our visions and imaginations and dreams. In fact, I can see the time where imagination is a commodity in a different way than it is now. You’ll be able to hire an imagination surrogate who can have their visuals, audio and words read by a computer which will simulate them into a virtual world where you, a mere visitor with less imagination can pay to journey…one mind riding inside another. Kinda like a novel. And won’t that be fun.
I know…you scoff. I read it in your mind.
Feature Picture – Creative Commons – chez_sugi
Minority Report – Fair Use
George Orwell 1984 – Creative Commons