Facebook’s augmented future could involve brain implants, but it’s not ‘1984’ yet

Facebook’s augmented reality future may be taking the form of selfie filters today, but in the future, the company wants to let you interact with the world only by using your brain.

Regina Dugan, who leads Facebook’s Building 8 group, gave a remarkable marketing spiel on the company’s efforts in shaping the future of human-computer interaction and imagining a future where you can control AR glasses with the brain.

During the F8 keynote, she urged the audience to imagine: “What if you could type with your brain?”

Details were relatively scant as to what this would really look like, though a Stanford University experiment Dugan referenced relied on “an array of electrodes the size of a pea” implanted inside the subject’s brain. This obviously initially sounds pretty horrifying for a company that has had such an issue with privacy issues; Dugan made efforts to allay future fears by saying that these devices couldn’t read your silent thoughts, but instead allowed you to control a “brain mouse” that would one day allow you to type up to 100 words per minute.

Dugan says that “no one has the right” to decode your silent thoughts, but the fact that’s even something that has to be said says something scary about where technology is headed. Oculus has already dealt with some blowback for its Terms and Conditions, which give Facebook access to your movements and where you’re looking in VR, what these scandals look like in the future could be even more invasive.

The team at Building 8 has around 60 scientists working across disciplines to research this technology. There is an awful lot of hype in this space at the moment, despite the fact that most see the tech as decades down the road. It was recently reported that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is starting a similar brain interface startup called Neuralink focused, for now, on developing the capabilities of the brain.

When is this pipe dream going to be a reality? Understandably there’s not a launch date in site, but Dugan says the company hopes to show off a system in “a few years time.”