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Until now, it’s our fingers that have been the things that connect us with computers physically, whether we’re typing on our keyboards or swiping on our mobile devices. But there are a number of companies out there that are looking to replace your trusty digits with signals from your brain – and Facebook has just bought one of them.
CTRL-Labs*, a promising young start-up that has developed a wristband that can interpret signals from your brain, is the fledgling company that’s just been acquired by Facebook for somewhere between £0.4bn and £0.8bn (depending what reports you read).
So what’s the big deal?
Well, for a start, imagine the (slightly scary) potential of Facebook being able to interpret your thoughts and turn them into actions. For example, instead of going through the motions of sharing a photo, adding some words and tagging relevant people, you could just, well, think it.
Speaking about the acquisition, Facebook VR president Andrew Bosworth said he hoped CTRL-Labs and Facebook could “build this kind of technology, at scale and get it into consumer products faster”.
However, the deal has been met with some apprehension. At a time when many are calling for social media to play a much less significant role in our lives, is Facebook knowing what you’re thinking going to be one step too far?
While such technology would undoubtedly make doing stuff on the social platform easier and quicker, it begs the question where it’s all going to end.
What do you think? Should technology that can potentially lead to brain-computer interfaces being developed be reserved for helping amputees control prosthetic limbs or does it have a place in the world of social media?
Facebook will almost certainly say that it’s all about improving the user experience, but what about the future potential to see ads as you’re thinking about things. Now that’s a scary/brilliant thought depending on your viewpoint.