If you could type directly from your brain, would you? Should you? Start having a think because Facebook has designs to read your mind. Hard to imagine? Seems that reality isn’t a million miles (or years) away. Regina Dugan, the Vice President of Facebook’s oh-so-hush-hush development and research facility, has just unveiled the future with her keynote speech at the recent F8 developers conference in San Jose. Turns out they’re working on a new technology which would enable you to type straight from your brain. Let that one sink in for a moment.
Faster than a speeding smartphone
Where we’re heading, you’ll be able to type 100 words per minute directly from your mind, a staggering FIVE times faster than you’re able to type on a smartphone. Get ready to say sayonara to ‘fat finger syndrome’ forever.
And although this might seem like a weird Biff Tannen utopia, actually, it’s already happening, with research advancing day by day. In a recent study, a 64-year-old participant, a man paralyzed through a spinal cord injury “set a new record for speed in a ‘copy typing’ task” with eight words per minute . And while that might seem excruciatingly slow to some people, 8 words is always a-million-times better than no words at all.
Can we have some privacy please…
Are you terrified of anyone hearing your deepest, darkest thoughts? Apparently, the technology detects only activity in a very specific region of your brain where thoughts are translated into speech. Phew.
The technology uses non-invasive sensors which can read what you are thinking and turn it into readable text. It also means that detectors in your hair or will allow you to ‘hear’ with your skin. It is undeniable that there are many benefits to use of this technology and that it will help the people who need it the most. We’re not just talking about those funny cat pictures on Facebook. This will become a speech prosthetic for people with communication disorders and will empower those millions of people who cannot read and write – people who can, however, think and feel.
And on a side note, imagine yourself in France. You want to check out a quaint little local vineyard and enjoy a bit of wine tasting. Only, you are English and do not speak any French. Potentially an issue depending on how many creme de menthes you’ve had, potentially not. In the future, you’ll be right in with the locals as the tech will use your brain-computer interface to translate French into English. Bonnet de douche, Rodney.
Feeling paranoid already?
Benefits aside, how can we be sure this technology won’t be used for, how do we say this, ulterior motives? What if one day you were standing at a cashpoint and someone behind you ‘hears’ your pin code as you’re trying to recall it in your mind? Or those pesky password hint reminders we all have somewhere at the back of our brains..
We can never be quite sure of what the future will bring. Just look at politics. One thing’s for sure, if Facebook have anything to do with it, it will be full of possibilities.