Mind-reading robot: cool but scary, too

It’s pretty neat that researchers have figured out how to use a quadriplegic’s brain to manipulate a prosthetic arm. We’re a long way from commercialization –and some worry there will never be a viable market– but I’d guess that in a decade practical devices will be available and that in 20 years many people who would be wheelchair bound today based on their injuries will be up walking around with no one even realizing they have an issue.

But if scientists can figure out a way to pick up and interpret such signals, how long will it be before other thoughts –such as intentions to commit a crime, vote for someone, or dump a lover– will be readable, too? That technology plus a ubiquitous drones could be a powerful tool for repression.

I hope it doesn’t come to pass.

May 17, 2012

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