Are you ready for wearable technology that can read your mind? It’s not as crazy as it sounds, entrepreneur Mary Lou Jepsen says.
Jepsen — the co-founder of One Laptop Per Child and a former executive at Google X and Facebook’s Oculus — is now the CEO of a company called Opnwatr, which she says is simultaneously making a “wearable MRI system” and “work[ing] on telepathy.” And those aren’t two separate products.
“If I throw you into an MRI machine right now, I can tell you what words you’re about to say,” Jepsen said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, which was recorded in front of a live audience at South by Southwest. “I can tell you what images are in your head. I can tell what music you’re thinking of. I can tell if you’re listening to me or not. That’s possible with an MRI, now.”
Opnwatr’s vision for the future is a wearable device like a ski cap or a shirt that can analyze things ranging from your thoughts to your health. And the possibilities — which Jepsen readily acknowledges could be both empowering and frightening — don’t stop there, she said.
“If you have a thought of how to make a better object, you can just think it and it appears,” Jepsen said of the ski cap idea. “And then you can melt it down and make a new one.”
“Our brains are way, way more complex than any computer we know how to make,” she added. “They’re way more creative. The input’s pretty good, but the output is constrained by our tongues and jaws moving and us typing. If we could communicate at the speed of thought, we can augment our creativity with the low-level stuff that AI and robots and 3-D printers and fab labs and all that do.”
But there are, of course, major privacy implications to new technology like this. Jepsen said the world needs an “international bill of rights” to govern the rights of individuals before products like a wearable MRI cap become commonplace.
“Can the police make you wear it?” she asked. “Can the military make you wear it? Who owns your thoughts? Once you share them, can you delete them? What about filtering? Have you ever thought about something you didn’t want to say out loud? We have to make it so that it only works when we want to think into it.”
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.