When many people think of telepathy, or the ability to communicate using only your mind, it may bring to mind the Jedi mind tricks of Luke Skywalker or the powers of Professor Xavier from the X-men. In that light, surely the opportunity to have access to what has often been depicted as a super-power would be too good to pass up for many people. At least, that may be the thinking of Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg,
Facebook appears to be in the process of exploring the idea of telepathy technology to read brain waves and revolutionise the way we share our lives on the social networking site. Building on comments made by Zuckerberg in 2015, Facebook is now advertising for vacancies at its "Building 8" division for a "brain-computer interface engineer" and a "neural imaging engineer" to create a "communication and computing platform of the future" that will utilise "non-invasive neuro-imaging technologies."
The job listings mark the company's first step into the telepathy based communication sphere following Zuckerberg's comments that he believes it will be possible in the future to "send full, rich thoughts to each other directly ... to capture a thought, what you're thinking or feeling ... and be able to share that with the world."
While this bold future product may have organisational benefits (we could finally leave "hands free" behind for a "speech free") and provide an undeniably game-changing method of communication, it also raises a number of legal issues. The first that comes to mind is privacy. The mind is surely the most private of domains and this new technology will need to tread carefully to protect that. Providers of the service, such as Facebook, would need to ensure it is compliant with privacy laws and regulations especially regarding the storage and disclosure of the resulting data. Will such data be harvestable by advertisers? If so, to what degree?
There are also potential cyber-security concerns. In the age of Wikileaks and internet blackmail, Facebook will have to work hard to ensure users trust the company to hold that data securely and can withstand a hacking attempt. The new technology would also raise interesting dilemmas in relation to government surveillance. Do we trust 'Big Brother' won't be reading our thoughts too?
So while this new technology could truly revolutionise how we communicate and share our lives, it also brings with it a myriad of legal issues that the provider must adhere to and may also potentially challenge the laws current interpretation of an acceptable level of privacy.
he said that the world would move beyond virtual reality and rather than "just being able to capture what's going on in a scene, I think you're going to be able to capture a thought, what you're thinking or feeling, in its kind of ideal and perfect form in your head and be able to share that with the world".