With US$4 million from the US Army, scientists at UC Irvine will study synthetic telepathy, otherwise known as sending and receiving messages using your mind. The scientists believe that this amazing new form of communication could benefit stroke victims who can't speak—but also aid soldiers in the battlefield. If it becomes popular enough, it will of course be abused by middle-school gossips and guys hoping to be like Mel Gibson in that crappy movie, too. Here's how the eggheads plan to make it work:
A brainwave measuring technology like electroencephalography records your thoughts, and a speech recognition system would decode the signals into words. The words would then be sent to the receiver using a different system "pointed in their direction." Presumably this is some form of radio, but since it's basically an EEG reading, one could imagine it being sent over the internet or via mobile phone. Might even help you cut down on your minutes, but don't let your thoughts wander while you're talking to your girlfriend.
The scientists say that such a system will require a ton of training and will only send very specific messages at first, but over time the system will improve. This sounds like a pretty revolutionary step in communication, and one that will likely lead to many embarrassing results if it is every widely implemented. Would it be worth it to you to read everyone's thoughts if everyone could read yours? [Physorg via KurzweilAI]