Here’s a tech that aims to read your mind and examine your memories.

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The US military has been working to develop mind-reading devices for years. The goal is to create technologies that allow us to help people with brain or neurological damage, but also allow soldiers to control drones and other devices with just their thoughts, Paul Tullis reported in 2019.

Many millionaires who have made their fortunes in technology have started projects to connect the human mind to computers to read our minds, communicate or increase our mental powers. Antonio Regalado spoke with entrepreneur Brian Johnson in 2017 about his plan to build a neuroprosthesis for human intelligence. (Since then, Johnson has embarked on a quest to keep his body as youthful as possible.)

We can deliver electrical shocks to the brain through headbands and helmets—devices that are generally considered harmless. But since they’re probing our minds and can change the way they work, maybe we should reconsider how invasive they are, as I wrote in an earlier CheckUp issue.

Elon Musk’s company, Neuralink, has stated that it ultimately has the goal of “creating a whole-brain interface to closely link biological and artificial intelligence.” Antonio revealed how much progress the company and its competitors have made in a feature in the magazine’s Computing issue.

After a man who had electrodes implanted in his brain to treat epilepsy was accused of assaulting a police officer, law enforcement officials demanded to see the brain data collected by the device. The data was liberating; The person had a seizure at the time. But mental information can just as easily be used to incriminate someone else, as I wrote in a recent issue of The Checkup.

From around the web

How would you feel about getting AI-written letters from your doctor? A pilot study showed that “with ChatGPT, it is possible to generate clinical letters with high overall accuracy and humanistic results.” (The Lancet Digital Health)

When Meredith Broussard learned that her hospital had used AI to diagnose breast cancer, she wondered how the technology would affect human doctors. Not good, it turns out. (wired)

A federal judge in Texas is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for revoking the approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs used for medical abortion. A ruling against the FDA could reduce the agency’s authority and “could be dangerous to public health.” (The Washington Post)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations that limit the amount of six “permanent chemicals” in drinking water. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals that have been used in the manufacture of products since the 1950s. They break down very slowly and are found in the environment and in the blood of humans and animals around the world. We don’t yet know how harmful they are. (EPA)

Would you pay thousands of dollars to have your jaw broken and fixed to look like Batman? Surgery represents another disturbing cosmetic trend. (GQ)

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