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Facebook is developing mind-reading technology

21 April 2017
Facebook is developing mind-reading technology

There's already a blueprint for the technology as Facebook said researchers at Stanford have already created a system to allow a paralysed patient type eight words per minute with only her thoughts. Beyond the futuristic that this technology seems, Facebook says they expect it to be ready within a few years.

Head of the company's experimental technologies division, Regina Dugan, said Facebook was working on "optical neuro-imaging systems" that would allow users to type approximately 100 words per minute directly from their brain, far more than one could achieve using a smartphone manually. "Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them", said Regina Dugan, head of Building 8.

A team of over 60 scientists, engineers and others at its secretive Building 8 research lab are working in the area Facebook describes as silent speech communications. The one that has gotten a lot of attention: technology which could let people type straight from their brains.

Facebook started the Building 8 group previous year, and put it in the hands of Dugan, who had previously led an advanced-technology projects group at Google. "It's a way to communicate with the speed and flexibility of your voice and the privacy of text", said Dugan.

To try to reassure viewers of the event, Dugan said the system could not read the "silent thoughts" of our brain, but would focus on motions like the idea of thinking of moving a mouse or things that we would say when talking, just as we can differentiate between thinking and talking normally. Facebook's goal, working with researchers at several USA universities, is to make the system non-invasive, as well as fast enough so that people can type 100 words a minute just by thinking. Dugan joined Facebook in 2016 from Google, where she led a similar group working on advanced projects; prior to that she was a director of DARPA, a U.S. Defense Department group with a similar mission. We are building the hardware and software necessary to deliver language through the skin.Your skin is a 2 m2 network of nerves that transmits information to your brain.

The issue, Zuckerberg posited in his post, is that our brain produces data equivalent to streaming four high-definition movies every second, but our speech is limited in how much of that data it can transfer. We have taken a distinctly different, non-invasive and deeply scientific approach to building a brain-computer speech-to-text interface. The aim is to decode those words that the person decides to share and sends to the speech center of the brain. Instead of implanting anything into the brain, Facebook is planning non-invasive ways of using wearable sensors.