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Facebook Thinks the Most ­seful Digital Assistant Is the One That Can Read Minds

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Utilizing Brain Computer Interface technology.

Facebook wants to give a digital assistant direct access to our minds.

Credit: Carsten Rehder/EPA

Cheryl Dugan, head of Facebook's Building 8 moonshot division, says the company wants to use existing brain-computer interface (BCI) technology to create a product that will enable people to type with their minds.

Building 8 researcher Mark Chevillet notes Facebook set out on this project because users are hesitant to ask personal digital assistants questions in public. Facebook wants to develop a digital assistant that can privately listen to the user's thoughts.

Chevillet highlights, as a proof of concept, the work of Christian Herff at the University of Bremen in Germany showing limited but promising results when it comes to translating thoughts to typing. In Herff's study, subjects were limited to only 10 words, and were told to speak them out loud. The computer was able to read and translate the brain signals accurately about 75% of the time.

However, Facebook's goal is to achieve 100 words per minute, relaying words silently directly from a user's brain.

From Quartz
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