The 21st century is a great time to be alive. We drive electric cars, we’re curing diseases with CRISPR, and we’ll soon be returning to the moon in rockets more reusable than the Space Shuttle ever was.
But it’s not all silicon and sunshine — our future has a healthy dose of “Black Mirror,” thanks to a slew of technologies that are downright creepy. Some of these technologies seem promising but can be easily perverted in frightening ways. Others seem to serve no purpose other than to creep us out.
Here are the 11 technologies that are so creepy they’re keeping tech experts and futurists awake at night.
Once the stuff of science fiction, sophisticated brain-computer interfaces (BCI) are becoming a reality. And like many of the leading technologies in the news, this one is also being developed by real-world Tony Stark, Elon Musk.
Neuralink is working to develop high-bandwidth implantable computer interfaces that will allow doctors to restore sensory and motor function in people who are severely disabled through strokes and other neurological disorders. But of course, it won’t end there. Once BCI technology advances far enough, Musk hopes it can be used to enhance ordinary human brain function with better memory and cognitive abilities, as human brains and artificial intelligence merge.
The very concept might sound creepy to some, but there are even more distressing implications.
“It opens our bodies to an unknown amount of threats. Eventually, this technology may present an opportunity for people to be hacked into, and that control could be all-encompassing — physical, mental, and emotional,” Hypergiant CEO Ben Lamm told Business Insider.
Voiceprint recognition has moved out of the sci-fi movie realm and into commercial reality, with some banks and credit unions using voiceprints to improve customer service. Since a voiceprint is a unique way to identify a customer, voiceprints can avoid answering security questions or remembering passcodes.
Futurist Laura Mingail is concerned about the risk that thanks to artificial intelligence, voice cloning can be done by secretly recording a short sample of your voice.
“If your credit card is stolen, that theft is easy to identify,” Mingail told Business Insider. “But if your voice is stolen and used, you can’t yet track its usage, or all the implications of its theft — whether it’s used to access personal banking information, to speak with family members, employers, or even the press. The abilities of AI to do voice cloning in mere minutes gives an entirely new meaning to losing your voice.”
We’re used to seeing pixelation used to mask faces, license plates, and secure undisclosed locations, so much so that we intuitively know that a pixelated image is intended to protect someone or something’s identity. Pixelation works for the very reason that the “sharpen and enhance” trope on television doesn’t — if something is pixelated, there isn’t enough information to refine it into a sharp, identifiable image.
At least, that used to be true. But in 2016, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Cornell Tech created software that can “see through” intentionally pixelated images to understand what’s behind the masking. It uses neural networks, naturally — in other words, artificial intelligence — and has had great success defeating YouTube’s privacy blur tool.
“This means that the most vulnerable people whose faces must be protected from publicity can’t in fact be protected at all, Kovarik told Business Insider.
Some science fiction tropes are iconic. The robot apocalypse, for example, which has fueled six “Terminator” movies and a TV series so far, relies on robots that hunt down humans.
With that image burned into the collective consciousness, you might think that robotics companies would avoid creating robots that look like they’re a few iterations from killbot, but that’s not the way Boston Dynamics rolls.
For at least two decades, the company has been rolling out increasingly sophisticated and ever creepier robots capable of overpowering and outrunning humans. And now Boston Dynamics has a robot that can open doors to search rooms to see where we’re hiding from them.
Avots: business insider