If you thought that mind-reading robots were a thing of science fiction, bad news, it may soon become a reality. MIT has created a wearable device that can read your mind. MIT is developing the AlterEgo headset that can read your thoughts and then translate them into real-world commands. That sounds cool, but it also sounds horrifying.
The AlterEgo headset rests on your ear and then fits snugly along your jaw. The device has electrodes that analyze brain activity and a pair of bone-conduction headphones that detect and translate vibrations in the bones of your inner ear canal when you internally verbalize a message. When you think about something the signals are sent to a computer that translates the thoughts into words.
“The motivation for this was to build an IA device — an intelligence-augmentation device,” MIT Media Lab graduate student Arnav Kapur, who led the team that developed the technology. “Our idea was: Could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?”
In early tests, the AlterEgo system was able to determine thoughts in 92% of commands without one single word being uttered. The tech is currently being used in fun, innocent things such as controlling your Roku, for playing chess, or calculating your grocery bill. But could you imagine if a wife made her husband wear one of these gizmos and read her husband’s thoughts? Instant divorce.
I’m sure the government wouldn’t love to get their hands on a device that is capable of reading minds. That possibly couldn’t end horribly. I’m sure electronics and social media companies wouldn’t want to offer wearable tech that reads your mind and they would market it to the masses as a “convenient personal assistant that accepts commands that are hands-free and voice-free.” The potential for good is incredible and the potential for nefarious actions is frightening. Welcome to the future.
Here’s another mind-reading robot that MIT has been working on.