It’s no secret that Facebook wants to know as much about its users as possible. After all, that’s how the social media giant targets advertising and, in turn, generates vast sums of revenue. However, the company reportedly told its employees about a planned feature this week to better understand users that may go a step too far: the ability to detect their thoughts.
According to a report in BuzzFeed News, the announcement was part of an end-of-year companywide meeting where new products and tools were demonstrated. One of these previewed features was a so-called “neural sensor” that could read commandments from a user’s brain and translate them into physical action. According to Facebook, this could help with typing, holding virtual objects, and playing video games. However, the company also seemed well aware of the privacy and safety concerns that could arise from such technology.
“We all get the privilege of seeing the future because we are making it,” Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said. “We have to build responsibly to earn trust and the right to continue to grow. It’s imperative that we get this right so that people around the world get all these amazing technologies… without experiencing the downsides.”
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not users will trust Facebook enough to use technology that can scan their minds. With all of the company’s privacy lapses, it’s pretty difficult to imagine.
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