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Mentally Taxing

Microsoft Wants to Mine Cryptocurrency Using Your Brain Waves

__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Sci-Fi Visions
Alpari/Victor Tangermann

Mind Reading

Microsoft applied for an unusual new patent that would read users’ brainwaves in exchange for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

The patent application, which has yet to be granted, describes a system that would scan a user’s brain activity or other biological signals to make sure they completed a task, such as watching a commercial. The system would then use those signals to mine for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, PC Magazine reports, as a way to compensate the user.

We’ve Seen Worse

The logistics for how such a transaction would occur remain hazy: the application includes details on how such a system’s software may work, but less information on how it would actually be used.

But this wouldn’t be the first time a tech company tried to patent absurd technology — it’s actually a fairly common practice, even though many of the systems described in these patents never get built.

Biological Captcha

Based on what information is available, the system seems ideal for a system like Mechanical Turk, in which workers complete quick tasks — like helping train AI algorithms — for small sums of money.

The idea there, PC Mag reports, is to make the process of proving that someone actually did the work quick and painless — albeit intrusive — instead of taking up time they could spend on the next job.

READ MORE: Microsoft Patent Describes Tracking Brain Activity to Mine Cryptocurrency [PC Magazine]

More on weird tech patents: Bizarre Ford Patent Lets You Filter Rideshare Cars by Smell