Coming Soon: Mind-Reading Cell Phones

Intel Inside brain

The cell phones of 10 years ago look like ancient relics compared to the smartphones of today. But our iPhones and Droids may be primitive compared to what's coming next. Justin Rattner, Intel's Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, explained in a keynote at Intel's Developer Forum this week that the next big thing in mobile devices will be "context-aware computing" from devices that anticipate your needs and wants. Read: psychic cell phones.

How is this possible? PC Magazine explains:

All this works...by creating a cognitive framework for managing context. It centers on a context engine that unites information from extensible analyzers, inference algorithms, data stores, and sensors, and then distributes them to the appropriate applications. The framework protects context information by putting the user in complete control of it: The user may specify what context is released, when it's released, and to whom it's released.

For example, a sense system embedded in a cell phone might know whether a user is running or walking, and whether they are outside or in a well-lit indoor area. Combined with inputted information (i.e. whether a user is free at a certain time), the phone could offer suggestions on what a cell phone user might want to do next.

Eventually, Intel might actually produce truly psychic cell phones. Earlier this summer, we learned about Intel's Human Brain Project—a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh that uses EEG, fMRI, and magnetoencephalography to figure out what a subject is thinking about based entirely on their neural activity pattern. The technology won't be ready for at least a decade—and that's just fine with us.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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