Jazmin Kopotsha | Culture Writer | Thursday, 20 April 2017

Here’s Why We Don’t Want Facebook In Our Brains

Here’s Why We Don’t Want Facebook In Our Brains

The Debrief: Imagine if we actually said what we were thinking on social media? Lol. Bye, friends

Whether you’re one of those people who actually uses that ‘What’s on your mind?’ box to tell your friends about how you’re feeling excited about your cheeky drinks with the boy, or the silent social stalker who never likes, never comments but always appears to have ‘seen’ the event invite, Facebook already knows so much about all of us. 

Some stuff we tell it, some stuff it guesses, and some stuff I’m sure we’re all still trying to get our heads around (we’ve got the lowdown on the suggested friends thing right here though). But for the most part, Facebook doesn’t actually, entirely know what we’re really thinking. Yet.  

Facebook is apparently working on a technology that’ll completely take your fingers out of the smartphone equation. Speaking at their big annual developer conference on Wednesday, Regina Dugan, head of Facebook's experimental technologies division ‘Building 8’ revealed that the company is looking into ‘optical neuro-imaging systems’ which basically lets you ‘type’ with your brain, reports the Telegraph. So, yes. Actual technological telepathy. No big deal. 

We’ll be able to think-type at 100 words a minute (a whole five times faster than you can on your phone atm) without so much as glancing at our screens which, in terms of the whole advancement of technology and the human race and stuff, is pretty amazing. But in real actual regular life, it’s pretty terrifying to me.

I wouldn’t say that this whole idea of Facebook wanting to read our minds is anything new. But until now it had been little more than a running joke between pals whenever an ex popped up as someone who ‘is also interested in attending this event’ (cue the nervous laughter). So, if you’re rolling your eyes and waiting to call bullshit on this whole thing, I don’t blame you. Because as much as it might be cool to harness The Force and communicate with technology like the 2017 answer to Matilda, let’s not be ridiculous. But according to Dugan, such capabilities are ‘closer than you think’. 

So, what actually happens when you don't even need to so much as look at your phone to post an update, type an email or make a note? What when your phone can read and interpret your brainwaves? What if Facebook, the biggest social sharing platform in the world has access to your deepest, darkest thoughts? What then? 

I’m gonna go ahead and say chaos, friends. Utter chaos. Because, lol, can you imagine the drama if you went to comment on your mate's engagement post and actually said what was going through your panicked little brain at that moment? 'WHAT THE HELL? ALREADY? WITHOUT PREPPING ME FIRST? I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU BUT THIS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE POO. A LONELY POO WITHOUT A FIANCE AND I"M NOT READY FOR YOU TO BE A REAL MARRIED GROWN UP YET AHSHSBSY', doesn't have quite the same level of social acceptability as 'congrats bbz xoxox'. 

Now, I’m sure that we’d be able to opt in and out of this mind reading malarkey – I don’t think it would go down very well if Mark Zuckerberg pulled a Professor X and went around listening in to everyone’s thoughts. And sure, I imagine there’ll be some sort of super protective measures put in place that we pop into those all-important privacy settings, but is there really any point? Doesn't this sound a little bit like the end of privacy?

Facebook has 60 scientists working on an implant that would be able to this, but the big(ger) development would be creating a sensor that could read your thoughts without having to be lodged into your brain, which would be nice. 

Call me old fashioned but the bit that worries me most is this huge push to just hand over control of our actions for the sake of not having to engage our brains enough for our thumbs to twitch around a little bit. Okay sure, Siri is a thing. As is Alexa and all those other voice assistant things. But last year, Business Insider reported that 70 percent of iPhone users don't really use the function that much and generally, as fun and helpful as the OK Google ads look, do we really need technology to do everything for us, because erm, won't that just make us a bit too lazy to function? 

I'm not one to stifle progression, honest. There are lots of things that would be super helpful, specifically speaking a function to un-send texts, never be without phone battery and temporarily erase all traces of annoying people who clog up your Newsfeed without having to re-follow them just to stalk. But, fucking hell, Facebook please don't get in my head. You're low-key in there enough already. 

Like this? You might also be interested in…

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Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha


Tags: Facebook et al