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Resistance Is Futile: Mind-Reading Computer Voices Your Thoughts

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We’re getting that much closer to the robot apocalypse. We already have computers beating us at trivia games. We already have robot flying machines that can act like a swarm. And now, we have computers that can read our minds, decipher our thoughts, and reconstruct them into comprehensible speech.

To be completely fair, the tech isn’t quite there yet, but they are making some monumental strides. The study was published in PLos Biology and it describes the initial steps made in converting brain activities into audio. The computer program effectively reads your brain waves, figures out what those waves mean, and plays it back as a sound.

“This is exciting in terms of the basic science of how the brain decodes what we hear,” said Robert Knight, a senior member of the team and director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Potentially, the technique could be used to develop an implantable prosthetic device to aid speaking, and for some patients that would be wonderful. The next step is to test whether we can decode a word when a person imagines it. That might sound spooky, but this could really help patients. Perhaps in 10 years it will be as common as grandmother getting a new hip,” Knight said. 

The video on The Guardian illustrates some basic word recognition, but you can see how more advances would be able to take this concept to a much higher level. Forget about motion control and Kinect for Windows 8. We could have mind control for Windows 9. Who needs speech recognition when you can just think it instead?

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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