“Scariest Thing You’ll Read All Day”: Report Sounds Alarm Over Brain-Reading Technology & Neurocapitalism

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Vox report that swiftly sparked alarm across the internet Friday outlined how, “in the era of neurocapitalism, your brain needs new rights,” following recent revelations that Facebook and Elon Musk’s Neuralink are developing technologies to read people’s minds.

As Vox‘s Sigal Samuel reported:

Mark Zuckerberg’s company is funding research on brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that can pick up thoughts directly from your neurons and translate them into words. The researchers say they’ve already built an algorithm that can decode words from brain activity in real time.

And Musk’s company has created flexible “threads” that can be implanted into a brain and could one day allow you to control your smartphone or computer with just your thoughts. Musk wants to start testing in humans by the end of next year.

Considering those and other companies’ advances and ambitions, Samuel warned that “your brain, the final privacy frontier, may not be private much longer” and laid out how existing laws are not equipped to handle how these emerging technologies could “interfere with rights that are so basic that we may not even think of them as rights, like our ability to determine where our selves end and machines begin.”

Samuel interviewed neuroethicist Marcello Ienca, a researcher at ETH Zurich who published a paper in 2017 detailing four human rights for the neurotechnology agethat he believes need to be protected by law. Ienca told Samuel, “I’m very concerned about the commercialization of brain data in the consumer market.” – READ MORE

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