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Facebook Hiring Mind Readers for New Secret Project

Tim Maytom

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Facebook's secretive 'moonshot' division Building 8 is looking to hire engineers with experience in brain-computer interfaces, perhaps with the hope of bringing Mark Zuckerberg's dream of a mind-reading computer to life.

The hardware group was created by Facebook last year, and has recently posted a number of job vacancies focused on neuroimaging and brain-computer interaction that look to create a "communication platform of the future".

One of the positions is for a brain-computer interface engineer who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, focused on a taking a project from "inception to product" over the course of two years, while another is seeking an engineer with experience in developing "audio signal processing algorithms" that would work with the platform.

Other listings include positions for engineers who can develop "novel non-invasive neuroimaging technologies" and "realistic and immersive haptics experiences". According to his LinkedIn profile, Mark Chevillet, a former program manager of applied neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, joined Facebook in September to work as a technical project lead.

In a 2015 comment, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, suggested that he was interested in developing technology that would enable humans to directly control computers using thoughts, and communicate with each other using machine-assisted telepathy.

"One day, I believe we'll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology," said Zuckerberg. "You'll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you'd like."

Building 8 was launched in April last year with the aim of combining research and product development to "make the world more open and connected", with a particular focus on blending the physical and digital worlds.

The group is led by Regina Dugan, who formerly headed Google's Advanced Technology and Projects Group, and previously served as the director of DARPA, the US Department of Defence's advanced research agency.

Building 8 has yet to produce any consumer or enterprise-ready products, but like Alphabet's 'X division', it seems more focused on pushing the boundaries of what is possible with technology, and thought-based interaction certainly falls under that remit.