Humans have been looking for ways to read minds for a long time: psychics, magicians, mentalists, and more. However, mind-reading is now something that can be achieved. In the 21st century, we can do that now. With the improvements and growth in artificial intelligence, researchers show that AI can read minds and keep improving at mind-reading.

This means that private thoughts can be achieved. New AI can translate brain scans into text. Computers can analyze patterns in how the brain is actually thinking and how things look inside. This looks quite scary, so let us look closer at this.

Where it Begins: Mind-Reading

It begins with the prehistory of natural mind reading, which began 100 years ago when humans discovered Brain Waves. These were ripples in the electrical field created by nervous systems. For a long time, we did not know how to read those signals or the potential of the Brain Waves. After several inventions, we finally got EEG, which stands for Electroencephalograph. It measures the Brain Waves and the neurons in the Brain Spark.

The EEG can pick up the frequency at which they are firing, measuring the potential in the brain and creating patterns that can be measured. Up to this point, we can check the Brain action, the tides, and the flow of electricity pulsing within the skull. Later, software was developed that would react, and the first Brain-computer interface was developed, which can react to yes and no, left and right, and clear and primitive patterns that the brain uses daily. This was quite useful for paralyzed people. However, going further was difficult because the brain waves were fragile. They are orders of magnitude less potent than the neurons created in your head. Additionally, sensors must pass through tissues, bones, and skin layers to get inside people’s heads.

Introduction of MRI Machine

Finally, one of the most powerful machines, the MRI Machine, can reveal the fibres that carry out the brain’s processes. This image processing technology also allows checking inside a patient and making a diagnosis without having to do anything invasive. It stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology, which looks at the oxygen flow in the brain. The idea is that blood carries parts of brain oxygen into different parts of the brain, which indicates brain activity.

In recent years, this method has also been used to read words and entire images from people’s minds, but this has not been very efficient since there is no pocket-sized MRI machine. There are yet-to-be-developed specific algorithms trained on a person for a long time before being able to read anything.

There is always a straightforward way to get into people’s heads: drill the brain and then put the electrodes under the skin or skull to measure brain activity directly, which is much more efficient. It is called BCIS (Invasive) and does require surgery, but the results are the most impressive. In this situation, a computer reads thoughts and then translates them into machine stimulation. This allows people to control limbs, feel touch, and manipulate objects in virtual space. This is all possible because nothing is blocking the brain waves.


Another milestone to be achieved Elon Musk’s Neuralink is a well-known BCI startup which is also quite similar to regular EEGs. The advantage of Neuralink is being closer to the source of brain waves. They all have pros and cons, being good at accomplishing specific tasks while being practically useless for others. However, they all have something in common, which is AI.

Reading Brain with AI to Help Humanity

Brainwaves are practically unintelligible. No map or chart shows what each impulse could mean. They are like a merely audible echo of the brain talking to itself. Fortunately, deciphering languages we do not understand is easy for AI, contributing to the current rise in Brain-Computer Interface.

AI and technology have always been used in medical devices to measure brain activity. This means AI can process information, showing AI data from the brain and then training AI to recognize things reliably.

With brain imaging techniques like MRI, scientists can scan the brain and calibrate expensive commercial BCIs before they start working correctly. New headsets are being developed, and the software for reading brain waves is continuously improving. BCI prosthetics may become commonplace in the future.

Superhuman arms are still a breakthrough in robotics, and BCI game controls are just getting their first commercial release. They may become as ubiquitous as VR headsets in a generation. With all this technology, control through BCIs is becoming more prevalent.

Why is it dangerous?

As we know, the first computer virus appeared in the early 70s. By the mid-80s, cybercrime became a daily occurrence across the world. At that time, people did not know how to guard themselves against these new threats. After that, antivirus software was developed, but with new technology, new challenges will directly interact with people’s brains.

If there is anything digital, it can be copied and potentially get out of control, creating an ethical risk we must deal with as soon as possible. This risk includes social media data, emails, text messages, and everything on your phone, including your location data. BCI technology takes location data to the next level because the things you put on social media are meant to be at least somewhat public.

Your thoughts largely are not, and should not be, publicly available. If you cannot be alone in your thoughts, you are no longer alone. Autocratic governments use every chance they can to influence their citizens’ decisions through large-scale cybernetic blockades or conduct elaborate spying operations under the guise of national security. Criminals can exploit the ignorance and naivety of countless people to scam and rob them from across the world. Various threat actors pretend to be criminals, but they are just puppets of their government conducting cyber terrorism on its behalf. Cybercrime is already quite scary without computers being able to poke into our minds, and now, if we are not careful, it can become even scarier.