Big Data in the Service of Brain Manipulation

Big Data in the Service of Brain Manipulation

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Editor’s notes: As the editor of AudioCodes Voice Blog I’m always looking for interesting, off-topic, technology posts. This post by Yossi Zadah is a good example. The post is not about VoIP, yet it is about voice and video and how our brain unconsciously makes decisions based on these elements. If you have a topic you think would be of interest to our blog readers, please contact me. We are always happy to accept guest posts. Amir Zmora.

Mental firewalls, mind control & big dataBig Data in the Service of Brain Manipulation

One of the more recent and very popular presentations on TED was actually a playlist of 11 presentations about data privacy, entitled “The Dark Side of Data”.

In a fascinating talk by Alessandro Acquisti, named “Why Privacy Matters”, Mr. Acquisti explored the behavioral economics of privacy (and information security) in social networks. What motivates you to share your personal information online, he asked.

His team’s surprising study on facial recognition software showed that it can connect an anonymous human face to an online name – and then to a Facebook account — in about 3 seconds.

In this talk, Alessandro illustrates that any personal information can be sensitive information. In one of many of the presentation highlights, Alessandro draws a scenario of using public social media data for personalized advertisements.  He describes a futuristic method of personalized advertisements where the sophisticated marketer uses public social media data (i.e. Facebook) and by using a relativity simple algorithm, chooses two pictures of your best friends. By using a facial composite tool, the marketer creates a new picture which is in essence a combination of the two pictures of your best friends. In the next step the marketer creates a customized ad using the composite picture.  Studies show that people can’t even recognize themselves in facial composites, but they do react to them in a positive manner.

Facial Composite for Brain Manipulation


Northeastern University computer science professor Rupal Patel looks for ways to give voice to the voiceless. As founder and director of the Communication Analysis and Design Laboratory (CadLab), she developed a technology that combines real human voices with the characteristics of individual speech patterns. The result is VocaliD, an innovation that gives people who can’t speak the ability to communicate in a voice all their own.

To build custom crafted voices, Professor Patel extracts properties from a target speaker’s disordered speech (whatever sounds the target speaker can produce) and applies these features to a synthetic voice that was created from a surrogate voice donor that resembles the target speaker in age, size, sex, etc. The result is a synthetic voice that contains as much of the vocal identity of the target speaker as possible, and the speech clarity of the surrogate voice donor.

VocaliD aim is creating a worldwide surrogate voice donor database to be able to synthesize target voices as close as possible to the target voices.

Let’s try to bring together Professor Patel’s fascinating and novel way to give voice to the voiceless with Professor  Acquisti’s sophisticated futuristic advertisement method and try to extend it to other fields in our everyday lives. In this extended method, the algorithm will use public social media sources to retrieve the voices of two of your best friends.. It can be done by using video clips, various voice recordings and the like.

In the next step, the sophisticated marketer will add to the composite picture a synthesized voice which resembles that of your best friend or mother, father, teacher or any other authoritative figure in your life. Now we have a picture and voice which can be used for various purposes, not only for advertisements.

A determent agent will conduct deep data mining through public (and sometimes non-public) data in order to identify pleasant memories, sites, events, locations.  Using Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI), we can combine the facial composites, synthesized voices and fictional setting which will unconsciously direct you to what to buy, who to elect and how to react to various stimuli.

We began this journey with a facial recognition software which connects an anonymous human face to an online name and we ended-up with a mind control tool which breaches your mental firewall. The impact of this exercise can be significant as it may have dramatic effects on the advertisement industry all the way to homeland security issues.