Sunday, July 17, 2011

Your Brain in the Future

Thoughts inside
One of the cool(est) things about having a brain is being able to think what you like in the privacy of your own head. Whatever you want, any time.

Can you tell what I'm thinking right now? Can you? No! Cool, huh?

But technology and computers are making interesting headway (hee hee) in this arena and -- without jest -- I advise you to enjoy your brain's privacy while you still can.

To illustrate, I (im)modestly recommend my recently accepted story "Mirror Test" for The Tomorrow Project anthology, Tomorrow Project: Seattle available later this year, details of  which I will have announced on my publications announcement mailing list.

What, you may well ask, is The Tomorrow Project? It is, to quote their web site:  "an anthology of science fiction based on science fact, featuring an original story from Cory Doctorow." The antho will include "short fiction, comics and short screenplays based upon current scientific research and technology development... currently being conducted by the University of Washington and Intel in the fields of synthetic biology, computer security, robotics, DNA sequencing and bio/chemical sensing, minute architecture, ray tracing/virtual reality and computer vision."

Fiction sponsored by futurists. Not a half-bad idea, if you ask me.

In my story I postulate that facial recognition technology and machine learning computers will pretty much take away your privacy of thought. Ah, the future! Isn't it just...glorious?

Here's your brain now, mentations all cozy and hidden. And there's your brain in the future, where the rest of us know what you're thinking.

Privacy of thought? Cool. Enjoy it while you can.


  1. Congratulations!

    I knew that there was a reason that I hadn't gotten a webcam for my external monitor.

    It's too bad that the choices didn't also include the residential energy and related monitoring work that was done at UW. Some of what they've been able to figure out indirectly would be pretty creepy if it were applied elsewhere.

  2. Sounds mysterious! Tell us more?

  3. See Energy Research at the University of Washington for details.

    We have a whole house energy monitor that can do a very crude version of what's described there, but only with help, not very accurately, and not to such a fine grain. Even with those crude tools we were able to diagnose a couple of big problems with the heating and water systems, cutting our energy use in half.

    Could we do better if we had help from someone/something that really understood all of the components? I hear that feedback loops are very effective in applications like that. And why stop with water and energy usage? There's air, too, both in and out. There's data. What about the views? Hmm...