Hacking Your Thoughts - Batman Forever meets Black Mirror

Companies are coming for your brains. The electricity in your brains, to be more precise. Valve, Facebook, Elon Musk and more are funding research into technologies that will translate neural signals into controls for devices like computers, smartphones, and VR/AR environments. While this would be super exciting, it represents some serious data privacy issues. First: what kind of private information can be elicited from your neural signals? It’s possible to use a specific kind of neural response to visual and audio stimuli to deduce information about the user… like where you bank, who you know, your real identity, etc (Edward Nygma in Batman Forever, anyone?)

More broadly, there is also the issue of what happens when you provide your neural signals to a company. If you’re worried about what Facebook is doing with your information now, imagine what they can do when they have hours of information straight from your brain. If neural data is treated the same as your DNA, commercial companies become the owners of your thoughts (as electrical signals). Will they readily share it with the FBI without probable cause? These kinds of questions, and many more, are starting to surface with neurally-controlled devices and other emerging technologies. This talk will cover all of this and more.

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