Sometimes, fact has a way of uncannily mirroring fiction. Seventy years ago, George Orwell penned 1984, a novel which foresaw a time when the “Thought Police” could read your mind and if you harboured thoughts not approved by the Party they could get you in trouble.

In 2002, Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novel Minority Report was brought to the screen by Steven Spielberg, with Tom Cruise playing the Chief of “PreCrime”, whose job it was to arrest people who were even contemplating criminal acts.

In eerie ways, the first few months of 2017, have seen multiple agencies racing to perfect technology that could read people’s minds.   Two weeks ago, at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, California (US), the company previewed technology where a subject’s thoughts were monitored by a brain implant and it activated a keyboard, typing eight words a minute! Facebook’s goal is to refine the tool so that even without an implant, people could type 100 words per minute directly with their brain. The “brain-to-text” project is two years away from fruition, but there are concerns.

Facebook already knows too much about our habits, tastes, etc. Do we want it to read our thoughts as well?


Image Credit:  CSA

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