Facebook PixelA tool that detects the decision-making modulators around you
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A tool that detects the decision-making modulators around you

Image credit: Taken from https://unsplash.com/photos/JoHUZdFt7g4

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J
Juran May 24, 2021
A device, plugin, or app that recognizes and warns you in real-time about the factors affecting your thoughts/decisions and their magnitude. An "anti-AI" AI.

An Introduction

Not so long ago, a monkey played a video game by using only his mind, scientists decoded the brain signals behind the handwriting and allowed paralyzed people to write. Those are extraordinary innovations that will have a strong positive impact on our daily lives very soon.

But, at the same time, people are becoming more aware of how their thoughts and decisions are being influenced/manipulated. As a result, Chile decided to protect the "mental privacy" of its citizens, legally calling it the "neuro-rights" . It's interesting because, for the first time in history, they want to protect
"the right to personal identity, free will, mental privacy, equitable access to technologies that augment human capacities, and the right to protection against bias and discrimination", as something that cannot be manipulated.

As scientists in Chile agree, it is too late to go back to beginning with social media. Our thoughts are being heavily influenced by specifically tailored contents, spot-on product promotions and "guided" to the direction which is the most profitable for someone. (Thankfully) It's still a very basic neuromodulation similar to the marketing tricks and political speeches, and, in the opinion of the decision-makers, does not require regulation.

What Chile actually wants is to regulate the real and obvious neuromodulation similar to the one seen in the handwriting-decoding video above. Neuroscientists are decoding emotions, memory, perceptions and thoughts in a way that can be very invasive. Some examples are the NeuroLink project from Elon, stimulation of the soldiers' neurons to improve their skills, measuring stress in drivers in China and similar . So, the main goal is to protect citizens from the inevitable invasive or non-invasive computer-brain interfaces that are being heavily financed at the moment and could become a decision-shaping tool in future!

The prototype idea

What I would like is to develop an app, plugin or a third-party device capable of detecting all intrusive, invisible, strong, weak, visual, sound and other decision-shaping factors around you. That way, I would help people to become aware of the active neuromodulation factors and hopefully help the neuro-right legislation to become the legal right of every citizen.

An example
I would start with the Internet and the social media. It would be like an assistant which would, when you click on something, jump out and say "Hey, there was a big red sign (which you clicked) that caught your attention, but there are 10 other similar options. Would you like to go back and check them?"

That's a very simple example, but the app should cover these too, although the final goal would be to cope with the complex machine learning algorithms that keep track of our habits and predict our thoughts. It would be lika an AI battling the AI.

Important note: I am not against all the innovative personalized AI usages, but I think people should know how their browsing or personal data is being used to shape their ideas and thoughts (something like GDPR for the data we indirectly give).


  • What are your thoughts on this?
  • Do you think an app would be enough, or we need a device that would keep track of the real world factors (media, signs on the highway, people talking to you, the Internet, ...)? Is it then too much?
  • Where should the line between "the dangerous" and "non-dangerous" modulators be drawn?
  • What are the things we should be careful about?

[1]https://nri.ntc.columbia.edu/news/chile-neurorights-international-lab-originally-spanish

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General comments

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw4 months ago
I think it's a great idea! Especially considering the widespread panic of "losing" our free will due to advances in technology. Something like this could go a long way towards setting people at ease and making them feel like they are in control.

I don't know how complicated the technology would need to be, but I have a feeling that it would take less work than AI. Essentially, the tool would simply be looking for known influencing tactics. While this is something that would come in useful in everyday life as well, we could simplify it by focusing only on our online activity.

I don't think we'd have to worry about the line between dangerous and non-dangerous modulators as long as the tool only gives us alternatives and we are free to pick any option, including the original one that the tool warned us against.

As I said, I don't know much about the tech in this, but I can understand and support the ethics behind it.