We all want to be a little smarter, a little more effective and skilled. Some people exercise and take vitamins, some people do jigsaw puzzles, and some of our Silicon Valley overlords micro-dose themselves with LSD every morning. Now an Australian company has developed a new tool in our eternal quest for perfection. HUMM Tech recently announced the Edge V One, a wearable device—a headband, to be precise—they claim can boost brain power by up to 20%, but some experts worry that this headband of intellect could be hacked to mind control the person wearing it.
The Edge V One works by reading the electrical signals produced by the brain and delivering a small jolt of electricity approximately equivalent to the power of an electric toothbrush to parts of the brain that are not performing at optimum levels. CEO of HUMM Tech Iain Mcintyre described it like this:
What we're doing is artificially connecting parts of the brain and letting those parts of the brain talk to each other better.
Our understanding of consciousness and the human brain is being upended all the time. Recently, we've learned that about the role of brain waves in consciousness, and we have a better picture of what the mind looks like. This brain boosting headband seems to fall in line with many other current discoveries.
HUMM Tech says that their headband is the "beginning of a revolution," that will lead to direct human interfacing with machines. They did, however, agree that there was a risk to the technologies. Asked if the tech was a type of mind-control, HUMM Tech co-founder Dr. Tim Fiori said it was "kind of mind-control." Iain Mcintyre also agreed that, if the technology was abused, it might be possible for bad actors to hack the brains of those who wear this device.
Perhaps we should be concerned with this potential mind control technology falling into the hands of companies who have already admitted efforts to manipulate populations getting their hands on it. Facebook is currently working on similar technologies, as is Elon Musk, and as our own Brent Swancer recently examined, government research into mind control is a well established tradition.
Iain Mcintyre described the potential applications of machine interfacing technologies in a way that sounds like a dream come true for Facebook, and many Facebook users:
“Instead of needing to type on your phone, your brain can send the word to the person you want to message."
So, machine enabled telepathy. Telepathy filtered through the corporate service providing it. Yikes. Will we soon see targeted ads based on our dreams and private thoughts?
Of course, none of this is a new idea. Transhumanism has been around for a long time, but it's only now that the first wave of technologies are being released to the civilian population. Should we run for the hills?
That's up to you. Every technological revolution carries with it new and weird risks that were impossible to conceive of before it was invented. As our capability for incredible and amazing feats of progress increases, so too does our capability for exciting new ways to do terrible things to each other. So it goes.
At least this headband might let you savagely beat your friends at video games before Facebook completely zombifies you.
The Edge V One will be released on Kickstarter later this year.