Nita Farahany has detailed how artificial intelligence in cars of the future could lead to the public signing off the rights to their own thoughts. She revealed how car manufacturers, insurance companies and governing bodies have shown interest in implementing EEG (electroencephalography) into vehicles. The artificial intelligence is already being designed to be embedded into the headrest of Nissan cars to track driver concentration, distraction and cognitive load while driving.
However, Ms Farahany fears insurance companies may soon use it as an incentive for cheaper quotes and later exploit their customer’s thoughts.
She said at a TED Talks event: “I worry that we will voluntarily or involuntarily give up our last bastion of freedom, our mental privacy.
“I fear we will trade our brain activity for rebates or discounts on insurance.
“In fact, in China, the train drivers on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail, the busiest of its kind in the world, are already required to wear EEG devices to monitor their brain activity while driving.
“Workers are even sent home if their brains show less-than-stellar concentration on their jobs.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we’re headed to a world of brain transparency.
“And I don’t think people understand that that could change everything.”
Ms Farahany, who is a professor in law and philosophy, was speaking at a TedTalks event in November 2018.
As an Iranian–American citizen, she was inspired to study brain activity after the 2009 presidential election protests in Iran.
She revealed how when she called her parents during the violent crackdowns, they would be too scared to tell her the truth about what was going on in case the government heard.
Then her fears increased when she contemplated the possibility of officials being able to read their thoughts.