Mind-Reading Machines

March 19 2008 / by GuestBlogger / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 15 Hot

By Edward Willett
This piece was originally posted here on Edward’s blog Hassenpfeffer.

I’m a hard-line skeptic when it comes to the topic of ESP (extra-sensory perception). I don’t believe in telepathy, precognition, telekinesis, or people bending flatware just by looking at it.

That said, I’m pretty confident that in the near future mind-reading will be possible. Not for us, though: for our machines.

In fact, machines can already read our minds, to a limited extent.

Just recently, Ambient Corporation demonstrated a neckband that translates thought into speech…sort of.

It takes some training to use, and requires “a level above thinking,” according to Michael Callahand, inventor of the Audeo with fellow University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher Thomas Coleman and co-founder with Coleman of the Ambient Corporation.

Rather than broadcasting a person’s thoughts, it picks up on nerve signals deliberately, but soundlessly, sent to the vocal cords, and relays those signals wirelessly to a computer, which then converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice.

The current system only recognizes about 150 words and phrases, but an improved version is supposed to be out by the end of the year that doesn’t have a vocabulary limit, because instead of recognizing specific words and phrases, it will identify the distinct bits of sound, called phonemes, that we use to construct complete words.


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Brain and body enhancements promise bold future

June 09 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Other   Year: General   Rating: 9 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

Scientists predict that over the next three decades, technologies will bring about enormous changes in our physical and mental abilities. By as early as 2035, experts say, we could be living in a powerful disease-free, youthful body with tiny nanobots roaming throughout every cell maintaining optimum performance levels for all our daily activities.

Nano-enforced bones and polymer muscles will empower us with physical abilities almost beyond belief. We could outrun a horse, jump from the ground to a one-story roof, and focus our eyes to view microscopic creatures as small as dust mites. Cutting edge brain enhancements will provide even more super-abilities. We will control lights, security systems, and electronics with just our thoughts, and even perceive objects behind solid walls.

Intellectual property expert Fred Hapgood predicts that we will also enjoy “cell phone implants (which allow virtual telepathy) and memory backups (downloading memory to a computer disk) will also become available in this bold future”. Hapgood adds that it may be possible to upload and download entire minds in and out of bodies, achieving a sort of immortality.

Many of these abilities, experts say, are a long way off, but none are thought to be impossible. Most people embrace enhancements that would make them healthier, happier, and more able, but a few conservatives oppose this radical progress as not being “human.”

Ignoring this future though, may not be an option. If co-workers, friends, or competitors can search the Internet during conversations; remember exactly who said what, when and where; or control machines with just their thoughts, the only choice may be to join them or retire. The corporate world will definitely favor a neurotech-enhanced workforce in the future. (cont.)

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