Back in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an open letter to the community he helped to create, outlining his desire to “connect the world” and “develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works“.
So far in 2017, Facebook have made several changes to their user experience, in order to better adapt to a constantly evolving society, and help to address some of that society’s biggest challenges. Now, we can harness the power of visual media with the Facebook Camera feature, as well as be more involved with local politics thanks to the Town Hall extension.
That’s a lot of new features, but at the F8 developer conference in San Jose this week, Facebook indicated that there’s still plenty to come from the Menlo Park-based tech company, who outlined a slew of fascinating new features set to adorn your news feed over the coming months. Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team gave us a whole lot to be excited for, but looking ahead, Facebook’s Regina Dugan showed us a future where we can control our news feeds with nothing but our brains.
Over the next few months, we can expect some pretty cool new features when we login to Facebook on either our computers or our phones. At the F8 conference this year, Facebook announced their very own virtual assistant called M, as well as upgrades in the virtual and augmented reality departments, but at some point in the next decade, Facebook might be giving us a completely hands-free experience of social media.
Regina Dugan, who was the 19th Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and has previously worked at both Google and NASA, revealed new findings by Facebook that could lay the groundwork for wireless computer-brain interfaces.
According to Dugan, Facebook has a team of 60 dedicated developers building a system that allows us to type using just our grey matter. While the average typing speed is around 40 Words Per Minute (WPM), this “silent speech interface” could enable you to effortlessly express your thoughts at a whopping 100 WPM, using neural activity to craft a status or message at five times the speed of a smartphone.
While the ideas that Facebook are developing seem pretty cool, some of you might be worried that Facebook is planning to steal your thoughts. There’s no need for the tin foil hats just yet, though: Dugan says that the facility will not be used on random thoughts in your head, saying: “It’s not something any of us should have a right to know”.
Dugan says the technology could be widespread across Facebook’s offerings within three years, and says it could be used to help people who have communication disorders, or even integrated into existing AR technology. Of course, Apple, Google and even Tesla are attempting to develop similar wireless interfaces; Facebook may not be the pioneers of the technology, but it sounds like the next couple of decades will be exciting times for fans of social media and technology.