There will come a day when you will be able to control your computer with your mind. It may seem like the realm of Star Trek but this technology is almost a reality. The possibilities of what this can do is almost boundless. Disabled people would have access to any space on the Internet (but until then your website does need to be ADA compliant) and regular people will become more efficient. No more keyboards, no more needing a mouse. The recent announcement of Facebook’s purchase of CTRL Labs has brought their product into the limelight and has brought up many questions that will need to be answered.


It was announced in late September that Facebook acquired the New York City-based CTRL-labs for between $500 million and $1 billion. It was Facebook’s largest acquisition since they acquired Oculus VR 2014. The company was founded in 2015 by two PhD neuroscientists from Columbia University.

CTRL-labs developed a bracelet that allows the wearer to control devices using their minds. Neurons in the spinal cord send electrical signals to a person’s muscles to tell them how to make moves like clicking a mouse or using a remote control. The wristband is able to take those signals and turn them into a digital signal, a great leap forward with technology. 

This Technology Could Be Really Useful

This has the potential to be an Earth-shattering innovation. Imagine the new possibilities that could be opened by this device alone or when combining it with VR or AR technology. Our lives will change dramatically and for the most part, this could be for the better. This technology could allow for a disabled person to use a computer more efficiently or even to do many other things that they would not be able to do before. 

It could open up all kinds of new games ushering in the next evolution of gaming which could be lots of fun for all of us. Using technology will be completely different opening up all kinds of new opportunities, both in our personal lives and in our professional lives. This could be one of the great advancements on par with the transistor or the microchip. 

Except No One Trusts Facebook

Of course many people are wary of the company that wound up purchasing this technology, Facebook. It has not been a good past few years for Facebook, from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to several antitrust issues in both the US and the EU to harsh criticism over their selling of user data to whomever wants to buy it. It has lead to a loss of many younger users on Facebook but many of those users have simply moved to Instagram though many people have left the platform altogether.

At this point it is probably fair to say that few people trust Facebook with their data. While this technology does not have the capability to read someone’s thoughts or mind at this point it does have the ability to read what your brain tells your muscles. The ability to read your thoughts may be a matter of time. Considering the number of times that Facebook has been caught doing something and has promised to do better the next time, one has to wonder how many next times they have.

Anyone Other Than Facebook…

Most Americans would probably prefer that Facebook not be the company to push this forward but Facebook does have a chance to improve its public image. This will be necessary for people to trust the company again but who knows, Facebook could be broken up as part of an antitrust suit (an issue that legislators on both sides of the aisle would consider). It will be several years before this technology is available on the market so Facebook does conceivably have time to rehab their image. 

Now to be fair, this is new technology and many bridges with this will need to be crossed when they get to them and there are certainly many issues that cannot be forseen today. But Americans do not trust Facebook at this time to ethically overcome these without severe oversight from the government. Facebook at this time may be the only entity trusted less than our government.

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