For years, Mark Zuckerberg has cheerfully mused about how cool it would be if people could pump information directly from their brains to the digital world. Today at F8, Regina Dugan—the former DARPA and Google research honcho who joined Facebook a year ago to head a group called Building 8—talked about actual investigations the company is conducting in that area.
Dugan acknowledged that the prospect of Facebook getting inside users' heads may not sound like anything to root for. "We are not talking about decoding your random thoughts," she clarified. The use-case scenarios she talked about involved stuff like people with ALS being able to type at 1oo words a minute by thinking and deaf people hearing through their skin.
The technologies involved relate to concepts like quasi-ballistic photons, and are works in progress. "These things are still a few years away, and yet somehow it feels urgent to us, because we don't always have the luxury of time," said Dugan,
"If we fail," she said as she was winding up her presentation, "it's going to suck."