Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Thought Police circa 2021 ... looms

“We are the dead,” and out of the shadows a third voice interjects, “You are the dead.” Suddenly, the two realize that a telescreen is hidden behind the picture of St. Clement’s Church. Stomping boots echo from outside; the house is surrounded. A familiar voice speaks the last lines of the St. Clement’s rhyme: “Here comes a candle to light you to bed / Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!” - 1984

The Thought Police circa 2021 is coming to you as we speak if this tech scales ...

Our thoughts are private – or at least they were. New breakthroughs in neuroscience and artificial intelligence are changing that assumption, while at the same time inviting new questions around ethics, privacy, and the horizons of brain/computer interaction.

Research published last week from Queen Mary University in London describes an application of a deep neural network that can determine a person’s emotional state by analyzing wireless signals that are used like radar. In this research, participants in the study watched a video while radio signals were sent towards them and measured when they bounced back. Analysis of body movements revealed “hidden” information about an individual’s heart and breathing rates. From these findings, the algorithm can determine one of four basic emotion types: anger, sadness, joy, and pleasure. The researchers proposed this work could help with the management of health and wellbeing and be used to perform tasks like detecting depressive states.

As often said in BRT, we have lost control ...

Above: An Arizona State University PhD student demo’s a mind-controlled drone flight in 2016.

It gets better ...

If this seems farfetched, consider that researchers at Kyoto University in Japan developed a method to “see” inside people’s minds using an fMRI scanner, which detects changes in blood flow in the brain. Using a neural network, they correlated these with images shown to the individuals, and projected the results onto a screen. Though far from polished, this was essentially a reconstruction of what they were thinking about. One prediction estimates this technology could be in use by the 2040s.

Read the entire VB piece, no doubt it will warm the cockles of your heart.

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