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Hacking Humanity: Can We Record and Decode Human Brainwaves?by@thesociable
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Hacking Humanity: Can We Record and Decode Human Brainwaves?

by The SociableFebruary 13th, 2023
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Thanks to AI and the Internet of Bodies (IoB) ecosystem, decoding the human brain is already well underway, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) presentation. “What you think, what you feel — it’s all just data — data that in large patterns can be decoded using artificial intelligence,” said Nita Farahany.

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If you thought freedom of speech was worth preserving, next comes freedom of thought: perspective


Thanks to AI and the Internet of Bodies (IoB) ecosystem, decoding the human brain is already well underway, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) presentation.


Five years after historian Yuval Noah Harari told the WEF that humans were hackable and that organisms were algorithms, Harari’s insights have been fully realized.


Thursday’s WEF Annual Meeting 2023 session on “Ready for Brain Transparency?” opened with a short video showing a dystopian scenario where employees’ brainwaves were not only decoded to determine their performance in the workplace, but also to determine whether they participated in illegal activity.


While the scenario in the video below is fictional, the technological framework is already in place.


“We can pick up and decode faces that you’re seeing in your mind — simple shapes, numbers, your PIN number to your bank account” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023

“Artificial intelligence has enabled advances in decoding brain activity in ways we never before thought possible” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023


The above video illustrates just one of the many dystopian scenarios that can occur when the human brain is no longer autonomous.


In her presentation at Davos on Thursday, Nita Farahany from Duke University explained that the technology to decode brainwaves already existed and was currently being rolled out in some use cases.


“What you think, what you feel — it’s all just data — data that in large patterns can be decoded using artificial intelligence” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023



“Artificial intelligence has enabled advances in decoding brain activity in ways we never before thought possible,” said Farahany.

Nita Farahany


“What you think, what you feel — it’s all just data — data that in large patterns can be decoded using artificial intelligence,” she added.


And the devices to decode the human brain don’t have to be as invasive as a brain implant.


The devices can be as non-invasive as a “Fitbit for your brain.”



“We’re not talking about implanted devices of the future; I’m talking about wearable devices that are like Fitbits for your brain” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023


“We can pick up emotional states — like are you happy or sad or angry” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023


“We’re not talking about implanted devices of the future; I’m talking about wearable devices that are like Fitbits for your brain,” said Farahany.


“These are headbands, hats that have sensors that can pick up your brainwave activity, ear buds, headphones, tiny tattoos that you can wear behind your ear — we can pick up emotional states — like are you happy or sad or angry.


“We can pick up and decode faces that you’re seeing in your mind — simple shapes, numbers, your PIN number to your bank account.”


“Surveillance of the human brain […] has a dystopian possibility of being used to exploit and bring to the surface our most secret self” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023

Farahany would go on to say that while decoding the human brain had its benefits, it could also be used for very nefarious purposes.


Surveillance of the human brain can be powerful, helpful, useful, transform the workplace, and make our lives better,” she said, adding, “It also has a dystopian possibility of being used to exploit and bring to the surface our most secret self.


It threatens fundamentally what our own self-identity is in some ways, and threatens to become a tool of oppression.


“We are no longer mysterious souls; we are now hackable animals” — Yuval Harari, World Economic Forum, 2020


Farahany’s 2023 presentation falls right in-line with what Yuval Harari had been saying for years at Davos — that “We are no longer mysterious souls; we are now hackable animals.”


According to Harari, “To hack human beings you need a lot of biological knowledge, a lot of computing power, and especially a lot of data.


“If you have enough data about me and enough computing power and biological knowledge, you can hack my body, my brain, my life. You can reach a point where you know me better than I know myself.”


“Just imagine North Korea in 20 years where everybody has to wear a biometric bracelet, which constantly monitors your brain activity 24 hours a day.


“You listen to a speech on the radio by the ‘Great Leader,’ and they know what you actually feel — you can clap your hands and smile, but if you’re angry, they know you’ll be in the gulag tomorrow morning.”

“Just imagine North Korea in 20 years where everybody has to wear a biometric bracelet, which constantly monitors your blood pressure, your heart rate, your brain activity 24 hours a day,” said Harari in his “How to Survive the 21st Century” speech at the 2020 WEF meeting.


“You listen to a speech on the radio by the ‘Great Leader,’ and they know what you actually feel — you can clap your hands and smile, but if you’re angry, they know you’ll be in the gulag tomorrow morning.


“And if we allow the emergence of such total surveillance regimes, don’t think that the rich and powerful in places like Davos will be safe,” he added.


Biological knowledge multiplied by Computing power multiplied by Data equals the Ability to Hack Humans” — Yuval Harari, World Economic Forum, 2020

The historian even came up with a “danger formula” for hacking human beings, which he believes “might be the defining equation of life in the 21st Century.”


That equation is B x C x D = AHH — which means Biological knowledge multiplied by Computing power multiplied by Data equals the Ability to Hack Humans.


“The power to hack human beings can of course be used for good purposes like provided much better healthcare,” said Harari in 2020, adding, “but if this power falls into the hands of a 21st Century Stalin, the result will be the worst totalitarian regime in human history, and we already have a number of applicants for the job of 21st Century Stalin.”


The Internet of Bodies “might trigger breakthroughs in medical knowledge […] Or it might enable a surveillance state of unprecedented intrusion and consequence” — RAND Corporation, 2020

Aiding the process of collecting the massive amounts of data needed to hack human beings is the Internet of Bodies (IoB).


The IoB is an ecosystem of wearable, attachable, implantable, or consumable devices that connect the human body to the internet, much like the Internet of Things (IoT), but for people.


According to a RAND Corporation report from 2020, the IoB “might trigger breakthroughs in medical knowledge […] Or it might enable a surveillance state of unprecedented intrusion and consequence.”


Additionally, “Increased IoB adoption might also increase global geopolitical risks, because surveillance states can use IoB data to enforce authoritarian regimes.”


Internet of Bodies Examples, RAND Corporation


The IoB is emerging from the so-called fourth industrial revolution, which WEF founder Klaus Schwab says will lead to the fusion of our physical, biological, and digital identities — transhumanism.


The WEF is fully behind widespread adoption of the IoB despite recognizing the enormous ethical concerns that come with having “an unprecedented number of sensors attached to, implanted within, or ingested into human bodies to monitor, analyze, and even modify human bodies and behavior.”


“After the Internet of Things, which transformed the way we live, travel and work by connecting everyday objects to the Internet, it’s now time for the Internet of Bodies,” wrote Xiao Liu, Fellow at the WEF’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


This means collecting our physical data via devices that can be implanted, swallowed or simply worn, generating huge amounts of health-related information.”


“Surveillance of the human brain […] threatens fundamentally what our own self-identity is in some ways, and threatens to become a tool of oppression” — Nita Farahany, World Economic Forum, 2023


With the ability to decode brainwaves, humanity is on the cusp of what could be the worst totalitarian surveillance regime in human history.


What would you do if you woke up one day and your thoughts were no longer yours alone?

If you thought freedom of speech was worth preserving, just wait until they come for your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams.


In this nightmare scenario, anything you think can and will be used against you by the pre-crime thought police.




This article was originally published by Tim Hinchliffe on The Sociable.


The lead image for this article was generated by HackerNoon's AI Image Generator via the prompt "human mind control device".