If you are a fan of DC's "Flash" then you probably know about the mind reading superpower of Cecile Horton, that allows her to hear what the other person is thinking or saying internally. But two Indian Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created a technology which will work like the superpower.
The newly developed computer interface is able to transcribe exact words that the user verbalizes internally. Electrodes in the device pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations, saying words 'in your head' but not detected by the human eye.
The next-generation technology consists of a wearable device and an associated computing system. The received signals are fed to a Machine Learning (ML) system that has been trained to connect particular signals with particular words.
A graduate student at the MIT Media Lab and the first author of this developmental research paper Arnav Kapur said that the intelligence-augmentation (IA) device would change the mind-reading technology.
"Our idea was: Could we have a computing platform that's more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?" Kapur said.
Pattie Maes, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences is the senior author and Shreyas Kapur, an undergraduate major in electrical engineering and computer science, was also part of the team.
The idea that internal verbalisations have physical correlates has been around since the 19th century, and it was seriously investigated in the 1950s and in the 1960s, the speed-reading movement tried to eliminate internal verbalisation, or subvocalisation.
"We're in the middle of collecting data, and the results look nice," Kapur said. "I think we'll achieve full conversation some day." The researchers have presented their paper recently at the Association for Computing Machinery's "ACM Intelligent User Interface" conference.
In the backdrop this, pondering the future of humans is a big challenge. If AI-driven devices can realize your intentions, then your privacy to think is also lost, at a time when provided information is being misused by big corporates and the governments across the globe.
We can easily visualize a scenario where humans will desist thinking and then loose their only superpower in the world to become machine-like beings being apt to live in a artificial intelligence-driven political and dominating system.