- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is trying to build a “brain-computer interface” — or, in layman’s, technology that can read your mind.

No keyboard needed.

Does anybody outside of the techno-geek crowd believe this is a good idea?

Police, intelligence agencies, security forces — these are all front-of-the-line parties just hankering and hunkering for mind-reading powers. No need for innocent until proven guilty ideals; heck, no real need for judges, juries and courts — except the ones to convict.

Zuckerberg, in remarks reported by Wired, told a Harvard group his vision was to develop technology that would allow individuals to navigate their virtual reality worlds by thought, not by button. What are these virtual reality worlds? They’re digital creations of Big Tech — they’re being created as we speak — that provide individuals the opportunity to “visit” real world spots without ever having to leave the comfort of their living rooms. The more real, the better.

The trick is fine-tuning the virtual world so that it mirrors what a physical traveler would see and experience.

This is where Zuckerberg’s mind-reading technology comes in, giving virtual reality users the ultimate in virtual reality experience — the ability to navigate these fake worlds by thought. No hand controls required. And he’s actually been pursuing the technology for years, in varying degrees of openness. 

“We’re building further out beyond augmented reality, and that includes work around direct brain interfaces that are going to eventually one day let you communicate using only your mind,” Zuckerberg said at a conference in 2017, Tech Support reported.

But it’s all fun and games ‘til it’s not, right?

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m just very excited longer term about especially things like augmented reality, because it’ll give us a platform that I think actually is how we think about stuff,” Zuckerberg said just a few days ago, confirming his company’s continued pursuit of the technology, The Daily Mail reported.

Well and good.

But there’s Real World — and there’s not. We just shouldn’t lose sight of that.

Blurring the lines between video game and the real world, between online and off-line, between science fiction and reality can only go so far before we lose sight of humanity — of truth even.

We don’t want to pursue technology to the point that the human experience is little more than what’s programmable by machine.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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