How Technology May Soon "Read" Your Mind
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBS News
Posted: January 16th, 2009
The content of our thoughts is our own - private, secret, and unknowable by anyone else. [But] neuroscience research into how we think and what we're thinking is advancing at a stunning rate, making it possible for the first time in human history to peer directly into the brain to read out the physical make-up of our thoughts, some would say to read our minds. The technology that is transforming what once was science fiction into just plain science is a specialized use of MRI scanning called "functional MRI," fMRI for short. "I always tell my students that there is no science fiction anymore," [said] Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University in Atlanta. What [researchers] ... have done is combine fMRI's ability to look at the brain in action with computer science's new power to sort through massive amounts of data. "There are some other technologies that are being developed that may be able to be used covertly and even remotely. They're trying to develop now a beam of light that would be projected onto your forehead. It would go a couple of millimeters into your frontal cortex, and then receptors would get the reflection of that light. And [there are] some studies that suggest that we could use that as a lie detection device. If you were sitting there in the airport and being questioned, they could beam that on your forehead without your knowledge. We can't do that yet, but they're working on it," [Wolpe said].