Groundbreaking brain implants currently used for stroke or epilepsy patients can be used to track people's thoughts – and pass them on to governments or companies.
That is Orwellian's warning from scientists at the Royal Society who say that reading chips is a huge privacy problem.
Society has urged the government to investigate and protect human rights against the commercial development of neural interface software.
It comes after both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have made plans to incorporate the technology into their companies.
This allows users to communicate with augmented reality environments with only their brains – no keyboards, touchscreens or hand gestures required.
The future? Pioneering brain implants for stroke or epilepsy patients can be used to follow people's thoughts – and pass them on to governments or companies
WE SHOULD NOT FEAR, ZUCKERBERG SAYS
Zuckerberg has repeatedly attempted to reassure the world that AI is a good force and will not destroy humanity.
He said that we should not see AI as a technological development that will cause the demise of our species.
In the interview he said: & I get a little frustrated, I think, when people become more afraid of AI and how it might hurt people because I think of diseases, driving safely in many ways … I mean this goes save people's lives and push people forward. & # 39;
& # 39; I heard this story recently at this conference where someone has built a machine learning application that lets you take a picture of a lesion on someone's skin and it can instantly detect if it is skin cancer with the accuracy of the best dermatologists and doctors in the world. & # 39;
& # 39; So who doesn't want that, right? Now you can put the power in your doctor's hand to become the best doctor in the world in that area.
& # 39; Everyone will be the best doctor in the world. & # 39;
& # 39; Access to people's thoughts, moods and motivations can lead to abuse of human rights & # 39 ;, the report warns.
& # 39; Companies can ask employees to wear interfaces that reveal their feelings. If there were access to thoughts, these could be used by companies to market goods and services or by politicians or campaigners looking for recruits for their purposes.
& # 39; The prospect of being constantly monitored can change people's behavior and affect their well-being. Health insurers can use access to neural data to refuse coverage. & # 39;
Currently, neural interface software helps to rehabilitate people with stroke, epilepsy, paralysis and psychological problems.
There are no internally implanted interfaces outside of license, but this can only be a matter of time.
In July, tech-mogul Elon Musk announced that his company, Neuralink, could apply by 2020 to start human trials in the US using ultra-fine electrodes inserted into the brain to help people with a locked syndrome or paralysis. have a computer or telephone controlled.
Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has shown interest in & # 39; telepathic typing & # 39; and the company supports research aimed at creating an external headset that can transcribe a vocabulary of 1000 words at a speed of 100 words per minute, just by thinking.
The expert working group of the Royal Society says there is a possibility that & # 39; people may become telepathic to a certain extent in the future & # 39; as more advanced neural interfaces arise.
However, the most advanced attempts at controlling thoughts so far are at the level of AI that recognizes simple brain patterns that correspond to pre-trained words or answers.
Experts say that this prospect has potentially huge consequences.
Dr. Tim Constandinou, Director of the Next Generation Neural Interfaces (NGNI) Lab of Imperial College London, who contributed to the report, stressed that there are a number of real ethical issues to be addressed: & # 39; By 2040, neural interfaces probably an established option to enable people to walk after paralysis and to treat treatment-resistant depression, they may even have made Alzheimer's treatment a reality.
& # 39; While developments such as seamless brain-to-computer communication seem to be a much more remote option, we now need to take action to ensure that our ethical and legal safeguards are flexible enough for future developments.
& # 39; This way we can guarantee that these emerging technologies will be implemented safely and for the benefit of humanity. & # 39;
Currently, neural interface software helps to rehabilitate people with stroke, epilepsy, paralysis, and psychological problems – but Mark Zuckerberg wants to use it for Facebook
Meanwhile, co-chair Christofer Toumazou, professor of Engineering at Imperial College in London, said: & # 39; The applications for neural interfaces are as unimaginable today as the smartphone was a few decades ago
& # 39; They could bring huge economic benefits to the UK and transform sectors such as the NHS, public health and social care, but if developments are dictated by a handful of companies, fewer commercial applications can be discarded.
& # 39; That's why we call on the government to launch a national investigation into this emerging area, to identify UK priorities and to help the public determine how technology is evolving and where we want it to be. brings. & # 39;
Not that this is the first time that the benefits of mind-read AI have been promoted. The US Army also hopes to hack soldiers' brains & # 39 ;.
Darpa's four-year Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program aims to use the body's peripheral nervous system to speed up the learning process.
This would happen by activating a process known as & # 39; synaptic plasticity & # 39; – an important process in the brain that is involved in learning – with electrical stimulation.
Some teams will work with intelligence analysts and foreign language specialists to shape the platform around current training practices.
Researchers will look at the use of technology for a wide range of applications, including decision making and spatial navigation, speech perception and threat recognition.
& # 39; Imagine having difficulty learning something new, such as multiplication tables or hitting a golf ball, & # 39; said Dr. Robert Rennaker of the University of Texas at Texas, Texas Biomedical Device Center.
& # 39; If you are right, when that lamp comes on, this system will be activated.
& # 39; By stimulating the vagus nerve during the learning process, we artificially release these chemicals to improve those compounds that are active during learning. & # 39;
The full report of the Royal Society can be read here.
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