Are You Ready for "Brain Transparency" and AI Reading your Mind?
The WEF and "The Battle For Your Brain"
The WEF’s annual meeting in Davos held a very important and exciting seminar discussing “Brain Transparency.” It featured new but working technology that allows scanning of the human brain via wearable devices (no electrodes needed). Such scans allow AI-enabled computers to read and interpret the wearer’s state of mind by instantly understanding recorded brain waves.
The devices they are discussing already exist.
Artificial intelligence systems paired with such devices allow unprecedented insight into the mental and emotional state of the wearer.
The picture above shows a female worker having amorous thoughts about a new male coworker (02:02 in the video). A wearable brain-scanning earpiece instantly notifies the company office about such forbidden desires, which could impair her productivity. The message “INTRA-OFFICE ROMANCES ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN” immediately pops up on her screen, returning her to a productive mindset and reminding her who the boss is.
A cartoonish illustration of such machinery is here:
The WEF presenter, Nita A. Farahany, is not describing future technology. She explains at 3:30 that all of the above capabilities already exist and are developing rapidly.
This is the future that has already arrived. Everything in that video that you just saw, is based on technology that is already used. Artificial intelligence has enabled advances in decoding brain activity that we never before thought possible.
You heard a lot about AI over the last few years, here at Davos it's been the talk of the hour. But I want to talk about it in a different way, which is the ability to decode brain wave activity. All that you think, you feel, is all just data. Data, that in large patterns, can be decoded using artificial intelligence.
Consider this: the average person thinks thousands of thoughts each day. As a thought takes form, (a math calculation, you are happy, you are tired, you are hungry), neurons are firing in your brain, in tiny electrical discharges. A particular thought takes hundreds of thousands of neurons firing in characteristic patterns that can be decoded with electroencephalography and AI powered devices.
The wearable thought-reading devices Nita discusses do not look weird or unwieldy. I put two of them into one picture for convenience.
Closer to the end of the video, she talks about how important it is to “preserve safeguards.” But watch Nita laugh at 27:30 at the tongue-in-cheek moderator’s suggestion that “All CEOs will use this technology completely responsibly.”
She knows how funny it is to think this technology will be used responsibly. I do not need an AI brainwave scanner to see how hilarious the “responsible use” remark is to her!
Metaverse (Facebook) Investing Heavily Into Brain Scanning
Nita reports (6:10) that Facebook and tech companies are “investing heavily in these devices.”
Big Tech expects us to give up keyboards and computer mice.
In near term future, these [brain-scanning] devices will be the primary way in which we interact with all of the rest of our technology.
Think about this for a minute. You will need to wear a brain scanner to integrate with Big Tech’s new shiny gadgets (which will likely be supplied for free). The scanner will send your brainwave activity to Big Tech’s AI engines. AI is bulky and cannot be placed into a tablet or a phone, so your brain waves will be collected centrally by Facebook or another Big Tech company.
While being in the Metaverse’s virtual reality or doing something else using the brain scanner human interface, random thoughts may enter your mind. Perhaps you’d momentarily want to buy yourself a comfy pillow?
The brain scanner would communicate this thought to the AI. The AI would decode it and show you relevant ads, perhaps BEFORE your thought process would even be complete!
The possibilities for abuse are endless. For example, let’s say that a woke designer of such an AI, or a “disinformation governance board” bureaucrat, would decide that they need to stop people from thinking climate change-denying thoughts. (Just an example.)
If so, as soon as my train of thought wanders off Zuckerberg’s fantasyland and starts turning towards skeptical opinions on climate change, the AI would proactively show me an attractive, skimpily-clad female, a cute cat slapping a farting dog, or some other distraction to disrupt thought development.
At 21:37, Nita discusses brain wave disruption and how it could be accomplished, which confirms such a possibility.
This is Tinfoil Hat Material
I must admit that the WEF discussion gives lip service to human independence and even employs the term “cognitive liberty.” However, this is only lip service to obscure far-reaching plans.
Nita envisions a future where we will all be forced to use brain scanners if we are to make a living (13:10):
What if there is nowhere to go? What if everywhere has ubiquitous monitoring? … Surveillance is part of our everyday life.
The “cognitive liberty” mentioned above cannot exist if a non-transparent AI, operated by giant companies governed by a multitude of “Accountable Tech” committees, provides people with a virtual reality shaped to extract maximum revenue and exert maximum influence.
These AI engines will inevitably be programmed to influence our thinking in ways far beyond the mere commercial realm. If so, most people would likely follow the prompts and clever nudges of anonymous, unaccountable, and extremely powerful masters of human cognition.
The term “cognitive liberty” sounds attractive, but we need to recognize that everyone’s consciousness is shaped by the societies and environments in which we live. Thoughts and paradigms employed by a 14th-century peasant who never stepped outside her village are completely different from the thoughts of a modern globe-trotting scientist. We absorb our information and beliefs from the outside.
A child born to very liberal parents may think differently from another child growing up in a conservative family. And yet, as most subscribers know, parents can only influence their children so much. Children often do grow up with beliefs different from their parents’.
The upbringing, advertising, and propaganda that we all experience around us shape us in ways that are powerful but difficult to notice. Therefore, at most, “cognitive liberty” is a worthy aspiration, not a black-and-white concept.
However, with the advent of AI recording the brainwaves of millions of people and influencing them, “cognitive liberty” will become a total joke.
Let me explain why.
In the past, a child growing up in a conservative family could be thinking liberal thoughts in the privacy of her mind, without the parents knowing or interrupting the thought process. This is how children evolve into adults who can think independently.
But would a future child, growing up with a convenient brainwave scanner and immersed in virtual reality, be totally shaped by the AI-driven metaverse?
Can you imagine Socrates, pictured below, wearing a brain-scanning interface and immersed in AI-generated virtual reality? Would he ever become Socrates as we know him if not for his ability to think without interruption?
Does a regular human being have a chance of resisting a brain-scanning AI engine as powerful as millions of human brains and trained on a giant “human dataset”? Is there any possibility that a boy or a girl, growing up in a virtual reality shaped by these systems, can develop independent thinking? Not in my opinion.
Such a future may seem attractive to some. The supporters may call it “making people better by teaching them good things at scale,” the “good things” conveniently defined according to the designers' values.
Biased AI seems to be the norm nowadays:
Call me an old fart, but I am scared by this because such systems place us at the mercy of anonymous thought masters and reduce our human individuality to almost nothing. And if humans are no longer genuinely individual, all shaped by the same virtual reality brain-scanning AI, are we expendable?
Brainwave scanning is becoming mainstream. Much money is being invested. The WEF loves it. Its applications are discussed at world gatherings of the most influential people.
So, tinfoil hats, which used to be jokingly evoked as attributes of the craziest conspiracy theorists, may soon become necessary to ensure the “cognitive liberty” to which Nita Farahany gives lip service. Even Socrates, if he was alive, might feel compelled to wear one. So ridiculous!
My retelling of the WEF video sounds crazy and may seem like a result of me overindulging in the wrong kind of mushrooms. Unfortunately, the crazy stuff is right there in the WEF presentation. I concocted nothing. My article is not even based on any compilation of disjoint materials! Everything that I am discussing is in one singular WEF video.
The brainwave scanners are being developed commercially and will soon be used to extract trillions of dollars from me, you, and our children. They will also be used to “shape future generations” as desired by unaccountable, unelected, and anonymous masters of the new universe.
Is that the future that we want?
Do you agree with Nita Farahany that “all that you think and feel is just data”?
They only need seven letters to read my mind. Nine if you count the space and exclamation point.
The hubris of the Davos crowd will be their undoing. I will predict that AI investment frauds will make Enron and Theranos look like a Girl Scout cookie sale theft.