What’s on your mind? Facebook will soon know
- If pursued, this new project will push the social media giant further into the artificial intelligence domain.
- The neural sensor that Facebook is said to be developing uses the resources of CTRL Labs, a company that Facebook acquired in 2019.
- In an effort to make more AI-enabled products Facebook is also building a TLDR tool that summarises articles.
Futurists have long predicted mind-reading technology. While the detection of brain-wave patterns has been possible for decades, the missing ingredient was the ability to interpret them. But now, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, we can finally know what’s going on inside people’s minds.
Now, one year after Facebook announced its funding research on brain-machine interfaces, the social media behemoth is said to be working on a technology that can pick up thoughts directly from neurons and translate them into words.
What started as a short-term goal of helping patients with paralysis, by decoding their brain signals and allowing them to “speak” their thoughts without ever having to move a muscle, is now turning into a longer-term goal of giving people the ability to control digital devices — from keyboards to augmented reality glasses — using the power of thought alone.
For context, Facebook in 2019 bought a company that makes mind-reading technology.The company, CTRL-Labs, makes a wristband that is said to decode electrical signals from your brain. By wearing the wristband, the company says, you’ll be able to control a computer using your thoughts.
Facebook’s neural sensor
How does our body function in conversations? When you speak, your brain sends signals from the motor cortex to the muscles in your jaw, lips, and larynx to coordinate their movement and produce a sound.
According to BuzzFeed News, Facebook made an announcement on its plans to build a new neural sensor at its yearly meeting. Although details were not available publicly, BuzzFeed News said it managed to obtain an audio recording that was broadcast to all employees. It indicated that Facebook has revealed some serious plans that are associated with upgrades in the AI category, as the company ends a predictably difficult year with even tougher events that posed a challenge.
Fair enough, the neural sensor that the company is said to be developing uses the resources of CTRL Labs. According to the report, the sensor will take the neural signals from the brain through the spinal cord and arms, and right to the wrist. This will allow users to make physical actions based on their thoughts. According to Facebook, this will help users holding a virtual object, typing, and controlling a character in a video game.
The technology is uncannily similar to the nascent brain-reading technology that Elon Musk‘s Neuralink company is working on. Overall, Facebook is expanding its range to cover even more AI-enabled products, including the new summarising app for news articles.
In fact, Facebook is using AI for various matters, from curbing the spread of misinformation on its social media platforms to removing hate speech, along with scanning political content. The social media giant is pegging AI as the panacea for all the problems that it has faced and will likely deal with in the future. As per BuzzFeed News, Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer said, “We are paving the way for breakthrough new experiences that, without hyperbole, will improve the lives of billions.”