On 20-Apr-2017 In Science & Technology
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always supported the idea of transforming thoughts directly to digital feed. For several years, Zuckerberg has been cheering the concept which he says will be extremely cool if people can directly transfer their thoughts into the digital world of networking.
Facebook held it’s annual developer conference on Wednesday, F8, where the team revealed a project that might be the most ambitious one from Facebook. This may also be the creepiest project as well if the proposal delivers on anything like it promises. Facebook is looking to build a “brain-to-computer interface” that will allow the users to digitally transfer thoughts directly into the computer.
It was unexpected for a Facebook executive to publically denounce the addictive nature of smartphones in today’s world where they are grabbing all our attention, as Facebook is a company which literally makes a profit because of public's addiction to technology. But, Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s innovation skunkworks Building 8, started her presentation in exactly the same way.
“Smartphones have been a powerful force in the world, but they have had some unintended consequences. [The smartphone] has cost us something. It has allowed us to connect with people far away from us too often at the expense of people sitting right next to us,” she said. “We know intuitively and from experience that we’d all be better off if we looked up a little more often.”
So, what exactly do you think can be done for this modern day addiction? We might take help of some meditation, maybe or some mindfulness apps perhaps. Well, that’s not the case if you’ll ask Facebook. Facebook revealed that it is working on to develop a technology that will read your brainwaves in order to save your time from grabbing your phone and typing all of it to email or post, you can just think and it will all be done itself.
Dugan then played a video describing the demo of their proposal showing a woman typing eight words in a minute, directly from the stage. She said that the team is working to demonstrate in a few upcoming years, delivering at least 100 words per minute through a silent speech system capable of doing so.
“That’s five times faster than you can type on your smartphone, and it’s straight from your brain,” she said. “Your brain activity contains more information than what a word sounds like and how it’s spelt; it also contains semantic information of what those words mean.”
A second technology also made rounds at the F 8 conference when Dugan showed another video demonstrating the ability “listen” to human speech through the vibrations on the skin. The motive behind developing this technology is to help people who have disabilities. It will work somewhat like Braille which you can feel with your body instead of using fingers. The video showed an armband connected and capable of conveying to a woman, 9 different words from the vocabulary by making use of sensors and actuators.
Dugan made her point by saying that people will be allowed to rapidly transcribe their thoughts and this will give them more privacy. This will allow them to send emails and texts instantaneously. She claimed that this project is just a beginning of Facebook’s effort in the field of reading mind and telepathy.
Regina Dugan suggested that people might be able to share their thoughts directly in future, without any barrier of language, no matter which one they speak. “You may be able to share your thoughts independent of language: English Spanish or Mandarin, they become the same,” she said.
She also acknowledged that there will be problems completing this project as it promises several things which are nowhere in the tech field yet. “The risk of failure and that slightly terrified feeling that comes with it is the price we pay for the privilege of making something great,” she said.
“Our brains produce enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second. The problem is that the best way we have to get information out into the world — speech — can only transmit about the same amount of data as a 1980s modem,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “We’re working on a system that will let you type straight from your brain about 5x faster than you can type on your phone today. Eventually, we want to turn it into a wearable technology that can be manufactured at scale. Even a simple yes/no ‘brain click’ would help make things like augmented reality feel much more natural.”
If Facebook succeeds in developing a technology that can literally read your mind, then this won’t be just a discovery, this will be a huge step forward in the digital era. It can be terrifying as well, but you can never assume the output of something unless you experience it.