BioSENSE alumni Nick Merrill Gives Dissertation Talk

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On October 16, 2019, Nick gave a talk on his dissertation: “Mind Reading and Telepathy for Beginners and Intermediates” More information on the event, including a live stream, can be found here.

What people think machines can know about the mind, and why their beliefs matter

What can machines know about the mind, even theoretically? I examine engineers’ and users’ beliefs about the answer to this question through (1) a controlled experiment on emotional interpretations of heartrate, and (2) a technology probe–a working brain computer interface–that revealed how software engineers in Silicon Valley imagine futures of mind-machine interfaces. I discuss how sensing technologies meet with human beliefs to shift the boundary between sensing bodies and sensing minds, and what this moving boundary means for the future of cybersecurity. I center engineers’ speculative capacity as an undervalued resource in security, and motivate my ongoing work applying speculative HCI practices to surface sociotechnical security threats.