no thanks

Keep This Cursed Mind-Reading Device Away From Me

The AlterEgo in action. Photo: Lorrie Lejeune/MIT

Look, I know the urge to compare every new tech-related advancement with Black Mirror is a cliché, but bear with me here. Researchers at MIT have unveiled a new device called AlterEgo, which allows you to communicate with a computer using nothing but your mind, if you’re into the sort of thing. (I’m not.)

Here’s how it works, per The Guardian:

Four electrodes under the white plastic device make contact with the skin and pick up the subtle neuromuscular signals that are triggered when a person verbalizes internally. When someone says words inside their head, artificial intelligence within the device can match particular signals to particular words, feeding them into a computer.

Testing has revealed a 92 percent accuracy; in comparison, voice-recognition software tends to be about 95 percent accurate. And while right now the functions are pretty basic — like selecting content on a Roku — the end goal is to allow a person to seamlessly and silently communicate with an AI assistant. (It could potentially be very helpful for those with disabilities that prevent speech-based communication.)

But the last thing I want is a computer to be privy to my internal monologue, which is usually a combination of “[imaginary argument with someone who wronged me years ago],” “dog!,” and “[the lyrics to “Thunder Road”].”

Keep This Cursed Mind-Reading Device Away From Me