(fashion) Pioneering brain implants currently used for stroke or epilepsy patients could be used to track people's thoughts - and relay them back to governments or companies.
That's the Orwellian warning from scientists at the Royal Society, who say reading chips pose a huge privacy issue.
The society has urged the government to launch an inquiry and protect human rights against the commercial development of neural interface software.
It comes after both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg expressed plans to incorporate the technology into their businesses.
This would allow users to interact with augmented reality environments using just their brain - no keyboards, touchscreens or hand gestures required.
The future? Pioneering brain implants for stroke or epilepsy patients could be used to track people's thoughts - and relay them back to governments or companies
Zuckerberg has repeatedly made a bid to reassure the world that AI is a force for good, and won't destroy humanity.
He said that we should not see AI as a technological development which will bring about our species' demise.
In the interview, he said: 'I get a little bit frustrated, I think, when people fear-monger about AI and how it could end up hurting people because I think in many real ways around diseases, around driving more safely…I mean this is going to save people's lives and push people forward.'
'I heard this story recently at this conference where someone has built a machine learning application where you can take a picture of a lesion on someone's skin, and it can detect instantly whether it's skin cancer with the accuracy of the best dermatologists and doctors in the world.'
'So who doesn't want that, right? Now you're going to be able to put the power in your doctor's hand to become the best doctor in the world at that thing.
'Everybody will be the best doctor in the world.'
'Access to peoples' thoughts, moods and motivations could lead to abuse of human rights,' the report warns.
'Companies might ask employees to wear interfaces that reveal their feelings. If thoughts could be accessed, then they might be used by corporations in efforts to market goods and services or by politicians or campaigners seeking recruits to their causes.
'The prospect of being constantly watched may itself alter people's behaviour and affect their wellbeing. Health insurers might use access to neural data to refuse cover.'
Currently, neural interface software helps to rehabilitate people who've suffered strokes, epilepsy, paralysis and mental health issues.
There are no internally-implanted interfaces licensed outside of medicine, but this may only be a matter of time.
In July, tech mogul Elon Musk announced that as early as 2020 his company, Neuralink, could apply to start human trials in the US using ultrafine electrodes inserted in the brain to allow people with locked-in syndrome or paralysis to control a computer or phone.
Meanwhile, Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg has expressed