Mind Reading Technology and the Right to Privacy
If one has no right to privacy can they truly consider themselves free?
There is a long and fascinating history in the United States regarding the right to privacy. Nowhere does this right display itself outright in the Constitution, and therefore there has been plenty of confusion over the idea. However, the right to privacy is an underlying theme throughout the Constitution here are your constitutional rights regarding privacy:
The First Amendment protects the privacy of beliefs.
The Third Amendment protects the privacy of the home against the use of it for housing soldiers.
The Fourth Amendment protects privacy against unreasonable searches.
The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination, which in turn protects the privacy of personal information.
Now, it’s important to note that the Constitution protects you from the government and has no bearing with private companies, this is why it’s okay for Twitter to ban whomever it wants, but as we find ourselves in the midst of the technological revolution with tech companies having ever growing power and influence over how we get information and share ideas this seems to be an encroaching dilemma. Should there be a set of basic human rights applied to the Internet and our tech overlords?
Companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google have a far scarier type of power than the old guard such as Exxon Mobil and GE; tech companies are interacting with us now from the time we’re toddlers minute by minute.
The average person checks their phone every six minutes, imagine having a sip of Coke ten times every hour.
Now imagine with every sip of Coke it had the power to subconsciously affect your brain in ways we haven’t enough information to understand.
The possibilities for a dystopian novel here are endless. We don’t know how much influence these companies have over us, but it seems like it is surmounting and ever growing.
I think, at times, we are a tad overzealous with our woes for the future, I don’t know a soul who has a self-driving car, and yet I’m somehow led to believe that if we don’t all become communists and accept universal basic income in our hearts then all the people who drive cars for a living are just going to end up homeless and dead, that being said, I’m not spending mental energy on my car every six minutes.
Facebook is working on mind-reading technology which, when you take a step outside of it all, is an incredible technological feat, if they can accomplish it.
But, when you’re looking at it from any other standpoint (besides the fact that it is amazingly innovative) the idea of giving a company full access to your innermost personal thoughts is the stuff of dystopian horror. We’re talking about terrors Huxley never in his most vivid of nightmares could have imagined.
A piece in the Independent titled “New Computers Could Delete Thoughts Without Your Knowledge, Experts Warn” states:
“The ethicists, writing in a paper in the Journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy, stressed the ‘unprecedented opportunities’ that would result from the ‘ubiquitous distribution of cheaper, scalable and easy-to-use neuro-applications’ that would make neurotechnology ‘intricately embedded in our everyday life.’
They warned that ‘malicious brain-hacking’ and ‘hazardous uses of medical neurotechnology’ could require a redefinition of the idea of mental integrity.
We suggest that in response to emerging neurotechnology possibilities, the right to mental integrity should not exclusively guarantee protection from mental illness or traumatic injury but also from unauthorized intrusions into a person’s mental wellbeing performed through the use of neurotechnology, especially if such intrusions result in physical or mental harm to the neurotechnology user.
The right to mental privacy is a neuro-specific privacy right which protects private or sensitive information in a person’s mind from unauthorized collection, storage, use, or even deletion in digital form or otherwise.”
They warned that the techniques were so sophisticated, that people’s minds might be being read or interfered with without their knowledge.
“Illicit intrusions into a person’s mental privacy may not necessarily involve coercion, as they could be performed under the threshold of a persons’ conscious experience.”
The mind-reading technology will most likely only be used for marketing purposes at first.
I think that companies and people rarely intend to commit evil, but very few great atrocities in history have been done by people with the intent to do evil.
People will always act out of their self-interest and justify their greed as moral.
If the rumors are true, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been working tirelessly on figuring out a way to suppress “fake news” since the election.
What many people have found out is that what they consider “fake news” sites are just right-wing alternative media outlets.
What does this mean when Zuckerberg gains access to your mind?
We know Zuckerberg has been quite politically vocal as of late, so if he did decide to run for political office one day (and his company had access to our minds) how could anyone stop him from becoming the dictator?
I don’t mean to pick on Mark solely; it could be whoever gains access to this technology in the future, this is downright super villain s*@t!
I don’t believe there should be laws on the internet for individuals, but I do think some sort of internet constitution may be in order here, I understand getting any amount of government involved is a dangerous proposition, but if we’d like to remain free from the grasps of sky net, something is in order.
* Christian Farrar is a writer, comedian, and often times an accidental provocateur. If you find any of his writing over-the-top, he probably does too.