(This column was originally published in the newspaper in January of 2016. Recent announcements and developments in AI, Genetic sequencing and other mind/computer interfacing technologies - has brought this subject to the forefront. I have added the newer information here)
“Emotiv headgear allows you to do things such as make a toy car whiz by or help a quadriplegic mix music like a DJ using just their brain power. The device relays your signals though a brain-computer interface to detect emotions, interests and a slew of other things.” – Sarah Buhr, Emotiv Engineer.
Have you ever used voice recognition software on your computer? It has always been a great idea to use the spoken word to get our computers to do what we want – instead of a (clunky) mouse and keyboard.
The problem in the past was that computers hadn’t yet gotten fast enough to respond quickly and correctly to the words we spoke. Then there was also the problem with accents and unique ways we all slur our speech. Back in the technological “dark-ages” – which amounts to five – ten years ago, personal computers weren’t up for the task of comprehending natural, human speech.
During my tenure at NASA – I lead the creation of a video indexing database that would process digital video files offline – and from that processing you could search for a spoken word or phrase and the video would start playing at that spoken word. It is still in use at NASA for the purpose of “knowledge management”. For every minute of video content – you would require about 10 to 20 minutes of processing time. It worked, but wasn’t real-time.
Cut to today – you can buy a laptop at Wal-Mart that will type what you speak – out of the box – with very little to no – voice “training”.
Anyone who has an iPhone or Android phone or tablet can use their device to type what they speak. They are extremely accurate at recognizing almost any voice. Most people do not realize though, that these devices only work properly when connected to the Internet or service provider network, as is the case with your cell phone. The reason for this is because even though your phone or tablet is a relatively powerful computer, it processes your spoken words and types your words for you – by leveraging the power of a mass of servers at a data-center. You speak – it sends the spoken words out as a data-stream – and processes the data, and returns the text to your device display. This is all performed transparently to the user. You didn’t have to place a phone call – but your device sends what you speak out over the Internet and then back again. By the way: does anyone other than me see a problem with this?
You didn’t make a phone call but an app (the voice recognition microphone) captures your voice and sends it to an undisclosed location with a bunch of computers that process what you have spoken. Hmmmmm … sounds like a really nice monitoring device to me. All we have to do is watch what we say – we can think whatever we want, without anyone eavesdropping in on our thoughts. Keep those voices in your head — Uhmmm – maybe not so much.
We needn’t worry about our speech being captured and recorded – that is so passé. Today, we can capture and record our thoughts! Through the miracle of science and technology – you can use your thoughts to control your personal computer or iPhone. And no! It doesn’t cost a fortune to have this technology in your hands (or rather, on your head) – these technologies can be had for as little as 100 dollars. The “NeuroSky Mindwave Mobile Brainwave Starter Kit” can be purchased from Amazon for $99.99 — but it only gives you feedback on how “relaxed” your mind is. ( I can imagine that some of us may actually reveal NO CEREBRAL ACTIVITY?) By connecting to your phone or tablet device, you can get real-time feedback on how focused you are, whether or not you are clinching your teeth, eye blinking rates, facial muscle tension and such. This would be a great tool for parents to use on their teenage kids. Set limits on your son or daughter driving around with friends and ask, “How many friends did you pick up when you drove the car yesterday?” The NeuroSky technology would give you instant feedback on whether or not your teenager is lying to you. In my house I’d use it for – “Who ate the last piece of pie?” (We wouldn’t need to ask though, because it’s most likely – me)
If you are willing to spend a bit more, you could get a technology that is quite a bit more capable, and scary. I was originally going to include a lot about a technology called “Muse” which is made by Interaxon. www.choosemuse.com – Muse is able to do some interesting things, but another company is pushing the limits on what can be done with mind-reading technology: Emotiv http://emotive.com
For under $500 dollars you can get a technology that enables you to literally control radio operated toys like cars and drones-with your thoughts! You can play video games with your mind. Right now – today. For this kind of technological marvel, you do have to “train” the device to read your own personal brain wave patterns. At least for now. The models they are selling are called “Insight” – which is a brain activity tracker (yes “tracker”, their words) – EPOC – which is capable of 14 EEG channels and 2 optimized spatial resolution sensors. What this means, simply put – is that you can think “move forward” or “move right/left” and the program or device responds accurately to the thought. The EPOC+ includes 9-axis inertial motion sensors. This is the same kind of technology that enables you to turn your phone and the image rotates on the screen.
I can imagine that much of what I have written here reads like hyperbole.
I assure you, it is not. By all means, visit the links provided and find out more for yourself.
This technology sound like a wondrous miracle of sorts – but here is the fly in the ointment:
In the beginning of this writing I pointed out that your phone or tablet sends your spoken words to other computers for processing when you want to type what you speak. So what about “typing what you think”? I have already explained that the processing of your thoughts will not be performed on your device – they will be sent out elsewhere, in real-time – to computer systems that capture and index your thoughts. I know – I know. This is all just too crazy to even consider. Still – there is even more insidious applications for these technologies that are beyond the space allotted here.
We can now capture and record our thoughts, how difficult would it be to “reverse” the process and insert pre-recorded thoughts into our minds? Awwwwww c’mon David – that would never happen.
How about CODING LIFE and rewriting thoughts – and inserting those thoughts into our minds?
So what, if anything, does God’s Word have to say about all of this?
One scripture that comes to mind is from the Book of Daniel 2:43 where it reads:
“ And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
I have heard this scripture interpreted a gazillion differing ways. One thing that I have come to understand is that God (YHVH) does not open up our understanding of a prophecy until its time is upon us. He calls us to understand His Word at His appropriate time. There is another scripture that basically states that God will not do anything without first telling His servants, the prophets.
The scripture from Daniel 2:43 alludes to the last kingdom before the return of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. It is a kingdom that consists of miry clay and iron. It is easy to discern that the miry clay is mankind. Man being made from the “dust of the earth” (Genesis) . The iron is technology, but not just computer technology. When you come to understand what is actually happening in the world of transgenderism and transhumanism, genetics and nanotech – programmable matter AND computer related technology like Quantum computing – you will have a much deeper understanding of where we are in God’s plan.
For now – be careful with what you say and think. Someone might be listening.