Last Updated on August 1, 2020
Great Minds Think Alike!
Sometimes it feels like Facebook is reading your mind. You think about an old friend and there they are on your feed talking about what they had for dinner! Or you check the ads on the sidebar and see tickets for your favourite band or sports team. But Facebook isn’t reading your mind. They’re just using the data they’ve recorded about you over time to make decisions based on what they think you want to see. However, this April at their F8 Conference they announced that reading minds is on their to-do list.Ready to Talk?
First up, we’ll say off the bat that even Facebook admit this might not be possible and the details they have given so far on the project are pretty sketchy at best. However, if they can find some way to predict human behaviour.
Facebook house their more interesting projects in their Building 8 location in Menlo Park, California. This is where they’re trying to prove neuroscientists and engineers around the world wrong, by investing millions in producing some kind of mind-reading gadget.
The purpose of a mind-reading gadget would be to help anticipate your needs when using a computing device. This would take away the need for a mouse, keyboard or joystick. So, if you were using a HUD or some kind of Google Glass type device, you could think your way to the menu rather than pressing a button or using voice commands.
Facebook Pushing The Envelope
The way they’re trying to achieve this is by investigating an old technology known as “fast optical scattering”. This basically means shining a light through the head, into the brain, and seeing how much light comes back. In many ways similar to how body fat can be measured by pumping electrical current through your body and timing the response.
By shining light into the brain, scientists can track how the brain responds, which cells expand and contract. However, there is one small problem. The human skull… When tests have been carried out in the past they have been with lab animals whose brains are exposed. So, until scientists can find a way around the skull, developments will be slow.
Looking Right Through You
Once this obstacle is overcome the next task will be turning the signals into words, or ‘thoughts’. Much like the recent movie Arrival, a whole new language will need to be developed to directly translate from the brain signals to a communicable English.
But while the potential is huge don’t start holding out for your brain controlled smartphone just yet. It seems like it’s going to take a while before they can find a way through our thick skulls!
Photo credit – Top: Wikipedia