One of our worst fears may have just come true, as scientists have announced that they have developed a revolutionary brain imaging process which would allow them to read minds.
Mind reading takes place almost literally as the new imaging technique creates images of what you dream, what you think and what you are imagining. At the moment, the scientists are able to reproduce movie clips that were shown to participants just before their brains were scanned. The images do not particularly look like the original, but the resemblance cannot be dismissed.
One of the best images that the scientists have been bragging about is the one in which a subject was shown a nature documentary that had elephants in it, and after the subject watched the documentary, the person’s brain was scanned and the blood flow within the brain was translated into images with the help of a computer. The resulting image is a dream like sequence which looks dark, but the shape of the elephants and the sky can be clearly seen. It is quite possible that the blue skies seen in the processed image and the dusty brown skies seen in the documentary look different because of the cognitive schemas a person usually has. People usually believe that skies are blue, and thus though the person saw brownish skies, his brain registered blue skies while processing the information.
The technology is still nascent and is something that has got the scientists to think and wonder. They believe that it would help in reconstructing internal imagery which would eventually help in communicating with and understating people who cannot communicate verbally. It may also help us to understand our dreams, thoughts and memories and the way information is processed. It is quite possible that many mental disorders and psychological conditions which have faulty cognitions as their root causes can be tackled with the new imaging technique.
However, it makes me wonder if reading people’s minds this way is ethical and even if the technology is possible and is not hogwash, if one can safely use it without harming anyone. Harm may not be physical, but mostly ethical in nature. Dreams, thoughts and images are meant to be private and not shared. The technology could help find criminals on one hand, and cause a lot of embarrassments to a lot of people on the other. You could also take a look at Viz-Lingo, which translates Text to Video. You might also want to read about the Psychology Behind Web Designing. It is funny how technology can even begun to read our minds, and that perhaps was the last domain that science couldn’t have touched. Now that it has, do yo0u feel scared that people might now read your mind, or you don’t?