Those who look forward to the future have long predicted the inevitable reality that one day, not even our own thoughts will be private. It seems that day is edging closer after scientists announced an astonishing mind-reading machine which can translate your thoughts into text that instantly displays in real time with 90% accuracy.
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The new machine has limitless applications including one-day helping patients who cannot speak or move. Researchers say the machine registers and analyses the combination of vowels and consonants that our brains use to construct a sentence. These sentences are based on neural signals which the machine then translates into text and displays it in real time.
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The machine's creators even say it is capable of using words it hasn't even heard before, "No published work has demonstrated real-time classiﬁcation of sentences from neural signals," the study's leader David Moses said. "Given the performance exhibited by [the machine] in this work and its capacity for expansion, we are conﬁdent in its ability to serve as a platform for the proposed speech prosthetic device."
Along with the benefits of the mind-reading technology, critics say there risks as well such as exposing secret thoughts accidentally. Other concerns such as misreading thoughts or even imagining them could lead to unintentional consequences. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the new technology is the possible, and probably inevitable, use of mind-reading machines in courtrooms.
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Suspects could be forced to submit to a mind-reading interview where their thoughts are recorded as they respond to questioning. Perhaps it could even be used to convict someone of a crime if they are proven to have knowledge of the crime they could not have had if they were innocent.
This is all speculation of course but it is a stark reminder of how quickly technology is advancing and while it may be difficult to imagine a scenario where a mind-reading machine is part of our everyday lives, it is certainly possible it could be a reality sooner than we expect.
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