Mental hacking

gabriel levesque
Photo by Gabriel Levesque

I’m Paula Santolaya, reporting live from SANTOLIVE in my virtual reality. Have comments, questions, or suggestions? Post them in the comments section or email me at

An eighteen-year-old boy was arrested in the state of Indiana for threatening his university with the publication of a video in which he was shooting students in the corridors. The video turned out to be an augmented reality game, but the police interpreted it as a mental projection of his intention to commit a real massacre. Can we imagine a society in which people are arrested just for ‘thinking’ about committing a crime?

Neuroscience, artificial intelligence and machine learning already allow scientists to penetrate the human brain through the electrical discharges generated by our neurons. There are devices capable of decoding forms, numbers or simple words and one day soon human thoughts could be read using a scanner. Currently, this technology is applied in the field of health so that people with some type of paralysis can communicate without needing to say a single word. An example of this is the iBrain system, used by the late Stephen Hawking. But, China has gone much further: the drivers of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train wear an EEG (electroencephalography) device to monitor their brain activity while driving; and, in some factories controlled by the government, employees are required to use these sensors to observe their productivity and emotional state, so they can even get fired if their brains show any sign of stress or lack of concentration.

Humanity is heading towards a world of mental transparency in which brains, like computers, can be hacked to extract their information. Freedom of thought, one of the democratic achievements of the nineteenth-century revolutions, is now threatened by this practice that attempts not only the freedom of the people but also the right to privacy of our own mind. Therefore, it is necessary to include in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a new right that protects our thoughts.

5 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Paula, thank you for sharing your eye-opening view here. I agree with you. While I am fascinated with the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we need to protect our minds and become as emotionally intelligent about ourselves as we can possibly be as well.

    Le gusta a 1 persona

    1. You’re totally right. That’s why we need new human rights to protect against ‘mind hacking’, otherwise we’ll become like computers…

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      Me gusta

  2. Learnography dice:

    In future, the teacher will have the facility of advanced EEG supported with AI to see the standard of knowledge transfer and brainpage development in student’s brain. Classroom is built and maintained for learning transfer and it should be checked regularly in school system. Thanks for the writing about the working mechanism of human brain

    Me gusta

    1. EEG will have multiple applications. I’m more concerned about the bad use of this technology. Can we imagine a future in which the government or society tell us what we can do with our own brains or even think?

      Thanks for your support! 😉

      Le gusta a 1 persona

      1. Learnography dice:

        Yes, that’s true ! Mind hacking is the dark side of EEG achievement. It should be stopped by making proper legislation and using law enforcement. Thanks

        Le gusta a 1 persona

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