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New technology could allow people to dictate letters and search the internet simply by thinking, according to researchers at Intel who are behind the project.

Unlike current brain-controlled computers, which require users to imagine making physical movements to control a cursor on a screen, the new technology will be capable of directly interpreting words as they are thought.

Intel's scientists are creating detailed maps of the activity in the brain for individual words which can then be matched against the brain activity of someone using the computer, allowing the machine to determine the word they are thinking.

Preliminary tests of the system have shown that the computer can work out words by looking at similar brain patterns and looking for key differences that suggest what the word might be.

Dean Pomerleau, a senior researcher at Intel Laboratories, said that currently, the devices required to get sufficient detail of brain activity were bulky, expensive magnetic resonance scanners, like those used in hospitals.

But he said work was under way to produce smaller pieces of equipment that can be worn as headsets and that can produce the same level of detail.

He said: "The computer uses a form of 20 questions to narrow down what the word is.

"So a noun with a physical property such as spade, which you dig with, produces activity in the motor cortex of the brain, as this is the area that controls physical movements.

"A food related word like apple, however, produces activity in those parts of the brain related to hunger. So the computer can infer attributes to each word being thought about and this lets the computer zero down on what the word is pretty quickly.

"We are currently mapping out the activity that an average brain produces when thinking about different words. It means you'll be able to write letters, open emails or do Google searches just by thinking".

Intel already have a working prototype that can detect words such as "screwdriver", "house" and "barn", by measuring around 20,000 points in the brain.

But as brain scanning technology becomes more sophisticated the computer's ability to distinguish thoughts will improve.

Justin Ratner, director of Intel Laboratories and the company's chief technology officer, said: "Mind reading is the ultimate user interface. There will be concerns about privacy with this sort of thing and we will have to overcome them.

"What is clear though is that humans are not restricted any more to just using keyboards and mice".

Computers that read minds are being developed by Intel - Telegraph
 

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Surely, I am not the only one that sees the LULZ and implications of the social engineering, hacking and misinformation that can be spread by this technology.
Wouldn't work on my mind, it'll just cause the blue screen of death mwhahahahaha :crazy:
 

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It probably won't see the light of day anytime soon due to the general ignorance of people and their fear of being controlled(which they probably already are and don't know it :laughing: ). The ability to read a mind and control it are two very different things, and being able to read a mind and send that information via web is not something that can be done easily and will inevitably be found out by others. Not to mention just because it can understand the words your thinking doesn't mean it can actually read your mind or scan deep down knowledge.
 

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Why do I get the impression that this would end up like the *wonderful* technology of speech recognition?

My thoughts: I want a soda.
Computer writes: I want a beer.
My thoughts: No no no! Soda!
Computer writes: No no no! Beer!
My thoughts: Damn computer.
Computer writes: Computer is going to hell.
My thoughts: God, I should just erase this.
Computer writes: God, I should just erase this.
My thoughts: I didn't want you to type that!
Computer writes: I didn't want you to type that!
My thoughts: AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
Computer writes: AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
 

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On the one hand, I do find it fascinating that technology is moving into the realm of thought-control, in the sense that we are controlling things with our thoughts. It would be truly impressive to control visual space with your own mind as your own physical body. Although, as you guys said, there is that minority-report style dilemma that would really suck, were the government to use this technology to subdue people on a thought-basis. That kind of thought-control would be bordering on unethical and tyrannical.

And this reminds me of that movie Enemy of the State:

Thomas Reynolds: We never dealt with domestic. With us, it was always war. We won the war. Now we're fighting the peace. It's a lot more volatile. Now we've got ten million crackpots out there with sniper scopes, sarin gas and C-4. Ten-year-olds go on the Net, downloading encryption we can barely break, not to mention instructions on how to make a low-yield nuclear device. Privacy's been dead for years because we can't risk it. The only privacy that's left is the inside of your head. Maybe that's enough. You think we're the enemy of democracy, you and I? I think we're democracy's last hope.
 

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Why do I get the impression that this would end up like the *wonderful* technology of speech recognition?

My thoughts: I want a soda.
Computer writes: I want a beer.
My thoughts: No no no! Soda!
Computer writes: No no no! Beer!
My thoughts: Damn computer.
Computer writes: Computer is going to hell.
My thoughts: God, I should just erase this.
Computer writes: God, I should just erase this.
My thoughts: I didn't want you to type that!
Computer writes: I didn't want you to type that!
My thoughts: AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
Computer writes: AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
hahahahaha... imaginative and inventive with your ideas, yet again!
 
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