Psychic computer that can read people's minds developed
2009 11 03

By Charles Smith | ibtimes.co.uk



Criminals beware - a team of international scientists have developed a "psychic computer" which reportedly can read people's minds and reproduce images of what they are seeing or even remembering by scanning their brain activity.

According to The Sunday Times, the scientists, in a major breakthrough, have been able to "decode" and convert brain signals or activity into crude moving images on a computer screen.

During the research, the scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to scan the brains of two volunteers as they watched videos.

Subsequently, the computer, which was specially developed for the research, was used to search for links between configuration of shapes, colours and movements in the videos, and patterns of activity in the patients' visual cortex.

It was then fed more than 200 days' worth of YouTube Internet clips and asked to predict which areas of the brain the clips would stimulate if people were watching them.

Finally, the computer was used to monitor the brains of the two volunteers as they watched a new film and asked to reproduce correctly what they were seeing based on their neural activity alone.

Although the results were crude, the computer was able to correctly reproduce the rough shape of a man in a white shirt but not his face (the volunteers were watching a video footage of comic actor Steve Martin in a white shirt) and the vague image of a city skyline (the volunteers were watching an image of a city skyline with a plane flying past) minus the flying plane.

According to the scientists, the computer could easily interpret brain patterns if the subject was looking at a static image or a person or a human face but presently it is too confusing for the computer to "decode" brain patterns if the subject is looking at a fast moving object.

According to the scientists, one day the computer could be used to study people's dreams or thoughts or behaviours or even be used to help solve crimes by scanning the brain of witnesses.

"At the moment when you see something and want to describe it to someone you have to use words or draw it and it doesn't work very well," said Prof. Jack Gallant of the University of California, Berkeley.

"You could use this technology to transmit the image to someone. It might be useful for artists or to allow you to recover an eye witness' memory of a crime," he said.

However, it could also herald a new Big Brother era, similar to that envisaged in the Tom Cruise-starring Hollywood film Minority Report where police in the future read minds and make arrests based on 'thought crimes.'

No wonder, Gallant warned that their scientific breakthrough could have "serious ethical and privacy implications."

"We believe that no one should be subjected to any form of brain-reading involuntarily, covertly, or without informed consent," Gallant said.

Agrees Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford University.

"It's absolutely critical for scientists to inform the public about what we are doing so they can engage in the debate about how this knowledge should be used," Foster said.

"It's the age-old problem: knowledge is power and it can be used for both good and evil," he said.

However, Gallant's research is not the first of its kind. Earlier, scientists at University College London have conducted separate tests that detect, with an accuracy of about 50 percent, memories recalled by patients.

In America, security agencies are researching the use of brain scanners for interrogating prisoners while US defence contractor Lockheed Martin is reported to have studied the possibility of scanning brains at a distance without knowledge of the subjects in sensitive locations such as airports.

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

Have Scientists Discovered a Way of Peering Into the Future?



Related Articles
Is Quantum Mechanics Controlling Your Thoughts?
The 'telepathy' chip, turn on the TV using the power of thought
'We'll be able to upload our brains to a computer'
Influencing Human Cognition: US Electromagnetic Weapons and Human Rights
Next-generation toys read brain waves
We are moving ever closer to the era of mind control
The Mind Has No Firewall
Reading This Will Change Your Brain
Many Scientists are Convinced that Man Can See the Future
Big Brother Brain Scanners To Detect Pre-Crime


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »