FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Mind Readers

How close are we to what might be the ultimate disruptive technology: mind reading? Or at the very least, a souped-up lie detector? If you said "closer than we think," you read my mind...

Experiments with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have demonstrated how a subject's thoughts could be "read" -- even subconscious thoughts the subject wasn't aware of having.

Researchers at University College London found that, when measuring brain activity in the visual cortex, the fMRI registered sights shown to a subject that he later could not consciously recall. Scientists conducting similar research in Japan could determine exactly what part of a complex image a subject was focusing on (in their case, a plaid pattern).

"This is the first basic step to reading somebody's mind," says Geraint Rees, who led the UK study. "If our approach could be expanded upon, it might be possible to predict what someone was thinking or seeing from their brain activity alone."

Source: Betterhumans