Sci/Tech Mind Reading Is Now Possible

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A computer can tell with 78 percent accuracy when someone is thinking about a hammer and not pliers.

Crime investigators always have their ears open for information only a perpetrator could know—where a gun used in a murder was stashed, perhaps, or what wounds a stabbing inflicted. So imagine a detective asking a suspect about a killing, describing the crime scene to get the suspect to visualize the attack. The detective is careful not to mention the murder weapon. Once the suspect has conjured up the scene, the detective asks him to envision the weapon. Pay dirt: his pattern of brain activity screams "hammer" as loud and clear as if he had blurted it out.

To detect patterns of brain activity, a subject must agree to lie still in a neuroimaging device such as a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tube, but in an age when many jurisdictions compel not only convicts but also suspects to provide a DNA sample, that isn't difficult to imagine. Now, neither is the prospect of reading thoughts by decoding brain-activity patterns. Just a year ago, neuroscientists couldn't do much better than distinguish thoughts of faces from thoughts of places (the brain has distinct regions that process images of each). "All we could do was tell which brain region was active," says neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. "There were real limits on our ability to read the content of that activity." No longer. "The new realization is that every thought is associated with a pattern of brain activity," says Haynes, "and you can train a computer to recognize the pattern associated with a particular thought."

 
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That is really cool, though I doubt that we are near implementing this as viable evidence in a courtroom. Lie detectors are not even considered conclusive. I think that it couldn't hurt to try, and if it helps with the investigation producing actual supporting evidence - then it could prove extremely prudent. Of course getting one to agree to it; that would require either misinforming them, stupidity, or new contempt of court laws. I think it's heading in the right direction though I can still see some possibilities for abuse. But that territory goes with all new technologies. Either way I'm sure its full speed ahead, and who knows - probably for the better.
 
That's awesome!

Though, I do agree with Father_Yetti that it will take some time to get it viable as evidence. But still, this is an amazing progress - hopefully more great things come from this.
 
Agreed with you both. Not completely verifiable, but you have to start somewhere :D

However, I'm wondering if people are going to start saying that something like the first amendment would be forcing people a bit much. How? I'm pretty sure you can figure that out o_O
 
The Fifth Amendment will probably come into play, I imagine - it's the one that protects you from testifying against yourself.
 
Who cares if it is evidence in itself? The fact that you can describe the crime scene, then have them envision the weapon, and possible the location they hid it in, is phenominally helpful. This will help loads of innocent suspects, as well.
 
Who cares if it is evidence in itself? The fact that you can describe the crime scene, then have them envision the weapon, and possible the location they hid it in, is phenominally helpful. This will help loads of innocent suspects, as well.

I completely agree with you, but where I think this may run into a problem technically speaking is will it be legal to use?
 
I don't like this. we can't keep going down this path! this scares me lol. We cant let ourselfs throw away our freedoms for safety!

my freedom of thought, and privacy of thoughts might be invaded, i don't know about you, but i don't like this one bit, the thought that china can handle its thought police better is even worse. do you not think that this could be used for such reasons? it is the only thing it serves for, invading a mans land of privacy.
 
I don't like this. we can't keep going down this path! this scares me lol. We cant let ourselfs throw away our freedoms for safety!

my freedom of thought, and privacy of thoughts might be invaded, i don't know about you, but i don't like this one bit, the thought that china can handle its thought police better is even worse. do you not think that this could be used for such reasons? it is the only thing it serves for, invading a mans land of privacy.

hmmm what are you hiding? :p
 
So if i force myself to think of a teaspoon i'm partialy immune to it?

What will happen if you hook this up to a paranormal? Will we see TS: FS like scenes where a supercomputer augment by a few psysic brains goes weird?
 
Well, this, like everything else, has it's pros and cons. A few pros like Jessi said, and cons, well for the criminals. But sometimes, if you're hiding something emberassing, it would suck.

Anyway, I doubt this thing will be easy to get (to the point every police officer has one, or you can buy one from the market)
 
So if i force myself to think of a teaspoon i'm partialy immune to it?

What will happen if you hook this up to a paranormal? Will we see TS: FS like scenes where a supercomputer augment by a few psysic brains goes weird?
No. Not at all. It's not concious thought it's reading, it's reading the fleeting thoughts that your mind conjures up as it makes connections between what the police officer is saying to you, and what is happening. Theoretically, they could have the suspect replaying the entire crime in their mind with the suspect not even realizing it.
 
It's sad. Soon the machines will take our positions as working men, and our government will become a communist, and we'll live materialistically. :(
This is great news to innocent suspects, but to the honest men who work these jobs it may not be... but who's really honest in this line of duty? They're cut throats just as much as the men they're trying to punish. Maybe we need more machines taking the stands and sentencing harsh law upon our American people.
 
These cannot be implemented for A LONG time. Even in years when they can read minds to find exact things, it can't be used unless its 100% accurate 100% of the time.
 
I can't read minds, but I can tell the future, heres a prediction:

I predict that someday someone will say the word "hello"
 
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