Mind games in brave new world

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It is not an over-exaggeration to state the past week or so has been full of shocks.

First we had the sad deaths of two 1980s sporting heroes – Ray Wilkins, the England midfielder who made an untucked shirt the playground fashion of that decade and Eric Bristow, he of five world darts championships and 12 pints a night fame.

Then we watched in admiration as Boris Johnson achieved the impossible by making himself look dafter than at any point in his colourful career when he put his size 10s in it yet again – this time over the Russian spy poisoning scandal. There was talk last week that Joe Pasquale is being lined up as the new star of the rebooted Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em but surely our Foreign Secretary would be a better fit?

But the news that really sent a shiver down my spine came in an article which revealed how scientists are developing mind-reading technology which could soon mean our thoughts will find their way on to a screen without a finger being lifted. Naturally, the incredibly clever people who sit in their labs and devise such innovations, are very excited indeed about the prospect of thought-controlled technology, having tested it out during games of chess.

Quite frankly, I am terrified by this latest development in modern technology, a move which will undoubtedly draw comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, although given that bobbies on the beat are something of a luxury these days, it is unlikely there will be any cash to recruit for the Thought Police any time soon. But before you get too excited by the prospect of having yet another gadget to bore dinner guests with, just imagine for a second what havoc this “intelligence-augmentation” wearable device could wreak. For the absent-minded amongst us, there is a strong risk that one could forget they were wearing such a device, leading to all sorts of potential consequences. An avid user of social media, I often sail close to the wind when it comes to what I write, so censoring my thoughts could prove even trickier. It would only be a matter of time before I let slip what I really think of a colleague’s new haircut.