Elite Facebook scientists have unveiled their latest project: building technology to literally read your thoughts.
A group of experts, led by the former boss of the Pentagon’s shadowy DARPA military research division, have hired 60 developers to bring the tech to life.
At a conference in San Jose, covered by The Financial Times, Regina Dugan described how they hoped to monitor the movement of minerals moving through individual brain cells to read thoughts.
It wasn’t clear how Dugan and her scientists, part of Facebook’s “moon shot” division, called Building 8, intend to physically access people’s brains – though she discounted the standard method of hooking people up to electrodes.
Dugan claimed that the social network’s only interest in accessing its users’ thoughts is to save them time typing or speaking so they can “get all that info out of my brain and into the world”.
She told developers at the F8 conference that the current limiting factor for human-machine interaction is the speed of input – we can’t type or speak as fast as we can think.
Her stated aim is to “read the brain five times faster than an individual can type on a smartphone” – which would apparently open new frontiers in artificial reality and the like.
Dugan told her audience “this is not about decoding your random thoughts” – though it’s an open question as to how much anybody would really trust Facebook to respect these limits given the opportunity to break them.