Facebook is apparently taking its love of knowing everything about every single one of us a step further. According to several job listings posted directly to Facebook, the firm is hiring experts in a variety of fields related to brain-computer interfaces, with the ultimate goal remaining a mystery. In one posting, Facebook has posted qualification requirements seeking a candidate with a specific technical background in brain imaging and interfacing:
- Ph.D. degree in neuroscience, computer science, electrical engineering, or related quantitative technical field required.
- 3+ years of experience with brain-computer interface technologies or other applications or machine learning methods to neuroimaging and/or electrophysiological data.
Other listings include a search for non-invasive neuroimaging engineers and haptics engineers. Haptic technologies are a broad class of devices which enable sensory feedback, such as the vibrating controllers of video game systems or touchscreens which can alter their own surface friction. Could Facebook be attempting to let users ‘feel’ one another? Gross. However, given other recent advances in brain-to-brain and brain-to-computer interfaces, it’s no stretch to presume that Facebook wants to take the computer or phone out of the equation entirely.
These job listing are all listed under the mysterious “Building 8” division of Facebook, a hardware laboratory dedicated to what Facebook calls “DARPA-style breakthrough development at the intersection of ambitious science and product development.” While Facebook can on one hand claim this research is all about bringing humanity together, putting so much data in the hands of a single private company that conducts top-secret research is worrisome, to say the least.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously announced the development of autonomous internet-broadcasting drones which could beam wi-fi down to the surface below – and no doubt intercept and data mine any network traffic below as well. Zuckerberg stated in a 2015 online Q&A session that he sees telepathy as the future of communication:
One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like. This would be the ultimate communication technology.
Hmm. Well, I, for one, welcome our all-knowing telepathic Facebook overlords. With the inevitable development of their new brain-to-brain tech (Brainbook®?), it seems Facebook wants to know everything about not only the outer projection of your personality, but your inner consciousness as well.
And why wouldn’t they? After all, the social network already has built-in facial recognition algorithms, knows what you bought on Amazon last week, and its messenger app listens to you even when you’re not using it. Yeah, Facebook is pretty much Skynet by now. But hey – how else are you going to know where your friends are going to be this weekend or what your weird uncle in Utah is thinking about at 3:23 on a Tuesday? Privacy was so twentieth century.