Day 76

5.04: Owning an iPhone, is either the coolest thing you can do in the whole wide goddam world, or the ultimate compromise of your humanity. I can’t decided which. On the one hand – and without wishing to be in the slightest part euphemistic or crass – I have a little wad of magic in  my pocket. On the other, I feel like I ceased being a proper person the second I swiped my finger over the touchscreen of the “Box That Knows Everything.” It feels a bit like cheating at existence.

At least it’s proved to me how far I’m willing to go in the name of investigative journalism. Not that far’s the answer. Some scarily clever – or cleverly scary – people have designed an application that can read your thoughts.

“Fuck yeah,” I thought to myself. “I’ll have a go at that: then I can tell the nice people that read my blog whether it works or not.”

Clearly, it doesn’t. Otherwise it would have picked up that I was keen on it and attached itself instinctively to my phone. But the first thing that happened was nothing. So, reluctantly, I searched the app store on iTunes, laboriously using my fat humanoid fingers to type “NeuroPhone” into its Luddite text box.

That didn’t work either. So far, NeuroPhone, you’re rubbish. Not only can you not read my mind: you can’t even read my fat humanoid fingers.

Apparently I need a $300 headset to have my thoughts read by a little gizmo I suspect is doing it anyway. And there lies the limit of where I’m willing to go in the name of investigative journalism.

But in my dedication to you, dear readers, I sat up late last night, and read the damn research about this thing.

Believe me, it takes a humanoid with fat fingers and a constitution of steel to get past the first sentence. I had to read it twelve times before I went on. It goes “Neural signals are everywhere just like mobile phones.”

Aah aah aah aah fucking oh. What?

“Neural signals are everywhere just like mobile phones.”

OK let’s cut to it. Basically they reckon it’s possible to control a phone with your thoughts and a $300 headset, but it’s not yet easy to make that process reliable outside of controlled laboratory conditions.

And let’s hope they don’t manage it, because this is the kind of scenario they’re imagining. Picture a university lecture:

“The students are all wearing EEG headsets and their data is being streamed in real-time to the teacher’s mobile phone. She simply takes out her mobile phone and it gives her up to the second statistics on each of her students. She quickly glances at the aggregate class statistics and realizing that the students really did understand her difficult question, proceeds with her lecture.”

But what if you’re thinking, “My God, I fancy the teacher.” Could you explode her headset with your unrequited sexual urges? Will that ruin it for the rest of the class?

Frankly, if we need some faceless authority to disapprove of our murkiest desires, I’d rather stick with the Catholic church. I’m putting my iPhone in the shredder, right now.

6.56: Golly, this is starting to get exciting. Elderly men are toting guns. Now I’ve got to go to work, and I’ve left myself on a Neighbour’s style cliffhanger. I’m going to have to rush home this evening to figure out how they get out of this pensionable knot of death. If I had a secretary, he’d be holding my calls. All weekend.

~ by David Thorley on April 16, 2010.

2 Responses to “Day 76”

  1. wow, the neurophone thingy sounds like the plot of the new Dan Brown book

  2. Do you think so? If you’re right it could make my fortune. Screw historical fiction, time to branch out into the religio-robo thriller genre…

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