Do you ever want to search for something, but aren't sure how to put it into words? Do Google, Yahoo and Bing spit back off-topic junk every time you try? Google thinks they will have a solution for this problem by around 2015. Their system, if it works, will be able to directly interface the human brain, so you don't have to put it into words. My source in Google's labs did not give his real name, as he might be violating a non-disclosure agreement just by talking to me, but a few drinks in a bar got him to do at least that.
"Wi-Fi is the key to the whole thing," said my source. "We got the idea from paranoid types who use tinfoil hats to keep the saucer people from reading their minds, or sending them commands. It turns out that if we simultaneously use the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands, we can make a wireless connection to the brain. This is easily done now that dual band Wi-Fi gear is becoming common. We still are working on making sense of what we get from brain signals, and sending messages that aren't just gibberish, but we are getting there. We are calling the project Google Mind."
He went on to describe their goals in greater detail. "People always have something that they would like to know but can't articulate. Let's say you have an image of something in your mind that you saw once, and wonder what it is. Google Mind will be able to see that image in your head, and search for it. For example, that that wrinkly looking thing you saw at the Asian grocery a few years ago was a bitter melon, and that it is used in Chinese and Indian dishes. Maybe you have a melody in your mind, or really only a snippet of it, and don't even remember the words. Google Mind can hear that song you have stuck in your head, and tell you the title, artist and any music stores that have it for sale. You won't have to struggle to gather your scattered thoughts. In a few minutes, Google Mind will figure out what you are trying to figure out, and give it to you. It will be amazing! We might not even have to stop at humans. Google Mind may someday make it possible to really talk to our pets, and understand them."
My source even told me that Sony is interested in licensing Google's brain connection technology for future versions of PlayStation. "Imagine telepathic gaming. You will not need a display, speakers or a controller. The console will directly connect to your consciousness, and it will all take place in your mind! You won't even have to wear a heavy, clumsy virtual reality helmet. It would be like the Holodeck in Star Trek, and could be anywhere!"
He made all of this sound like a good thing, but I see a slippery slope. If Google can read our minds to help us search for things we can't put into words, what else will they see? Who else will have access to the data? If Sony can beam a game into our brains to entertain us, what else could be beamed in? Will be be led around like dogs on leashes? Made to do terrible things in the real world believing it is only a game?
If it becomes possible for the government to read our minds, will we be arrested and locked up by the thought police when we haven't even done anything? Will employers be able to monitor the minds of employees? There would be no such thing as privacy, and corrupt bosses would be able to stop whistleblowers in their tracks. I told the man I had been speaking with about my concerns, but he dismissed them. "We wouldn't be involved in that kind of stuff! We're Google. Our motto is don't be evil." His assurances give me no peace. I hope that this Google Mind project turns out to be unfeasible, and is abandoned. I always have thoughts I do not care to share. I suspect we all do.