Chinese technology firms with government support are developing “mind-reading” systems capable of determining the emotional state of a person. These systems are already being used in factories, hospitals, trains or even the army, according to the newspaper South China Morning Post.
Although other countries such as the United States have similar technologies, China is the first that has given them a practical and extensive use, highlights the newspaper, which warns that these advances pose ethical dilemmas.
To “read the mind”, small wireless sensors are used in contact with the head, often hidden under helmets or caps, which constantly monitor the brain waves of the subject and send data to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to measure them.
The data received allows the systems to detect emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger. This system is already being used in the Chinese high speed railways. For example, if one of these sensors discovers that the driver is a little sleepy, an alarm will go off in the cabin.
Its use has also spread to factories and industrial centers, according to the newspaper, which gives as examples the production line of telecommunication equipment manufacturer Zhongheng Electric, in Hangzhou (east), or the electricity company of that same city, facilities where an error human can cause great economic losses.
“When the system issues a warning, the boss asks his employee to take a day off or move him to a less critical position, some jobs require high concentration and no mistakes,” explains the professor of neuroscience and cognitive psychology Jin Jia, from the University of Ningbo (east).
This university is one of the main research centers of brain reading technologies, through its Neuro Cap project, funded by the Chinese Government.
This type of sensors have also been used in Chinese military operations, the newspaper reports, although little details are given due to the secrecy that usually surrounds the Chinese Armed Forces.
The officials responsible for these programs in China recognize the fear that the reading of minds can awaken in many as well as other technologies that the country is developing such as the systems of facial recognition.
“They think we can read their minds, which causes them discomfort and resistance at first, but after a while they get used to the device, which looks like a safety helmet,” Professor Jin Jia told the South China Morning Post.