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Machines can read our minds, but we can’t read their minds

In 1928, Carl Jung, quoting Heraclitus, wrote that we, humans, are running into the opposite direction we should or could go. My small mind prevents me to understand the ideas of those two great thinkers, but that doesn’t mean I can feel the truth in what they are saying. I can’t express it, but I feel it.

We can imagine that after thousands upon thousands of years of progress, evolution, civilization, or whatever name you would like to call it, we should have arrived by now at a time when we should be able to solve most of our many problems. We should have achieved the dreams and goals our ancestors hopelessly worked hard to achieve.

There are no doubts we have the knowledge, the science, and the technology to end hunger and poverty around the world, if we wanted to do it. And perhaps we have all the resources to provide liberating education to almost anybody on this planet, as well as health services for many, if not all, of humanity.

Yet, it seems that “progress” and the globalization of a techno-scientific way of thinking and living led us to forgetting the past and neglecting the future, that is, we don’t know where we are coming from or where we are going. We even forgot about seriously asking those questions and then we forgot that we forgot.

After all, who, in their right mind, have the time to read and study 2500 years of Western thinking? Let’s be honest: we seldom take even a few minutes per day to meditate, even knowing meditating daily for just a few minutes creates significant benefits for both our mind and our body.

We just want to perpetuate a past and we want to impose our present to others. Therefore, we are not open to the future.

In fact, we are so closed to the future that we assume that if what we (as an individual, community, or nation) is not achieve, the only other alternative is the end of the world. We see ourselves as controlling the Apocalypse (in the Hollywood sense of the word.) Then, we like to propagate fear to others and we like to live in fear ourselves.

Obviously, not everybody is like that. There is a considerable number of people who, like Heraclitus and Jung, are aware of what many others are still unaware. They are fully aware we are running precisely into the opposite direction of where we say we are going. We are running in the wrong direction.

And while we don’t know what we are thinking, intelligent machines, such as AlterEgo (created by MIT students) can read our unconscious thoughts by detecting minute neuromuscular movements in our faces.

AlterEgo knows what we are thinking, and we don’t know what we are thinking or what AlterEgo is thinking (assuming it is thinking).

Perhaps one day of the AlterEgo descendants will find out why we, humans, in spite of our great potential, are only good at self-destruction.

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