Mind Reading Computers

ChelseaScienceLeave a Comment

minority-report.jpgHere is something a little off topic. The movie Minority Report is about a cop in the future working in a division of the police department – the “pre-crime division” – that arrests killers before they commit the crimes courtesy of some future viewing technology. I saw it a couple of times and really enjoyed it. It was a very thought provoking piece. The idea is that these three “precogs” can view future events, murders specifically, and send the names of the victim and the perpetrator as well as video imagery of the crime and the exact time it will happen to these special cops who will then arrest the future “murderer” and put them in “jail” in a permanent sleep state. The question of course is, if someone is arrested before he commits a murder, can the person be accused of the murder, which – because of the arrest – never took place?

Why do I bring this up? This news story grabbed my attention: Brain scan ‘can read your mind:’ Brain scans have been developed which it is claimed can predict what a person is about to do. Right now the computers are only reading what the people in the study are currently thinking or doing, but scientists say that “Once this computer has been “trained” it can be used to predict the decisions of subjects solely from their brain activity alone.” This is because they are discovering what part of the brain intentions are stored and what part then takes over as the person becomes more active.

Professor Colin Blakemore, director of the Medical Research Council, said: “We shouldn’t go overboard about the power of these technologies at the moment.

“But what you can be absolutely sure of is that these will continue to roll out and we will have more and more ability to probe people’s intentions, minds, background thoughts, hopes and emotions. Some of that is extremely desirable, because it will help with diagnosis, education and so on, but we need to be thinking the ethical issues through.”

I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty creepy to me.

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