Facebook zeroes in on human mind control with its latest acquisition

Facebook has announced the acquisition of a startup focusing on neurotechnology.

The company, called CTRL-labs, has been working on a wristband that ‘decodes’ electrical signals sent from the brain down the spinal cord to the hand muscles. The signals are then interpreted as commands, like clicking a mouse or pressing a button.

Back in 2017, Facebook said that it had plans to create a computer-brain interface that would allow users to send messages to each other using just their minds. The company said it would probably be through some kind of wearable device and it looks like the acquisition of New York-based CTLR-labs will help make that happen.

‘We spend a lot of time trying to get our technology to do what we want rather than enjoying the people around us,’ Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality, said in a Facebook post.

‘We know there are more natural intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology.’

Facebook hasn’t said how it will incorporate CTRL-labs into its plans (or how much it paid for it), but the tech giant does also own the Oculus virtual reality company which it bought in 2014 for $2.3 billion.

In July, a Facebook-funded team from the University of California San Francisco worked with volunteers who already had electrodes placed on the surface of their brains to gather data ahead of major surgery.

The researchers were able to use machine learning to recognise the ‘sound’ of responses to questions and ‘decode’ the contents of brain transmissions.

This experiment was a success and allowed scientists to ‘instantly identify’ three volunteers’ ‘spoken responses to a set of standard questions based solely on their brain activity, representing a first for the field’.

It all points towards the inevitable Facebook singularity.

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