There’s a reason Facebook continues to be the most used social media site in the world: it’s constantly innovating and changing, exploring new avenues and new ways for people to connect. And their newest idea sounds like it’s straight out of a science fiction novel.
At the annual Facebook F8 Developer Conference, one of the main focuses was on brain-computer interfacing (BCI). Simply put, that’s creating a connection directly between your brain and your computer. This technology would allow people to type out their thoughts without ever touching a keyboard.
Now before you panic at the idea of sharing your deepest thoughts and fears on social network back accident, take a breath. Facebook developers have repeatedly stressed that you would only share what you intend to with the public — you can keep those private thoughts to yourself.
“This is about decoding the words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain. Think of it like this: You take many photos and choose to share only some of them. Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them.”
BCI technology already exists, but has been primarily used for those suffering from extreme nerve damage. But companies have picked up on this technology as a viable commercial option; SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is working on a similar idea, called Neuralink.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that the technology will most likely be some sort of wearable device, and could have people typing up to five times faster. Facebook’s Building 8 team will embark on a two-year plan to make BCI a viable (and profitable) technology for the company. The team has 60 engineers all working towards the same goal: creating a wearable device that will allow you to type with your mind.
If this grand plan succeeds, it will be a huge step forward in BCI, as well as an enormous coup for Facebook. The ability to type with our brains is an innovation that still seems like something out of a science fiction movie — but in reality, it’s closer than we think.