Linked by weildish on Fri 12th Dec 2008 00:46 UTC
In the News In Japan at ATR Computational Science Laboratories, the first thoughts in history were successfully read via a computer -- and not just by guessing or even educationally guessing. Scientists began by showing test subjects the six letters that spell "neuron." Afterwards, by measuring the subjects' brain activity, they were able to reconstruct the six images and display them on a monitor. The images were fuzzy, of course, but obviously spelled neuron. ATR said that it's very possible that one day this technology will be able to read our dreams.
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Freaky and Pointless
by sultanqasim on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:06 UTC
sultanqasim
Member since:
2006-10-28

1. Why do we need this technology? What good can it be used for?
2. This freaks me out, as it seems that it will lead to the final step of ending privacy - monitoring people's brains. What next? Turning people into robo-slaves of some dictator that have no will or control over themselves?

This experiment is just one small step in an increasingly ominous direction, headed to end of all privacy.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by mounty on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:25 UTC in reply to "Freaky and Pointless"
mounty Member since:
2005-12-12

Strictly, it's difficult to argue that the technology is pointless when you go on to specify one application --- dictatorial control.

There are many `pointless' technologies in the world, such as reproductive technologies (`test tube babies') when the planet is already grossly over-populated (with humans) and car `performance' research when vehicles can already drive much too fast. That's just the intellectual obsessive insanity of our times.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by samw on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Freaky and Pointless"
samw Member since:
2008-12-12

But the way I see it is that their is a fundermental difference between the need for the technology that is the ability to produce 'test tube' babies and this.

Test tube babies (or IVF for that matter), are wanted by a decent following of people. IVF is used by many hundreds of thousands of people per year to achieve a human goal they would otherwise be unable to reach.

However, I know very few people that would like to have their minds read. But this is where the second motive to advance technology comes in; curiosity.

Curiosity, in my opinion, will certainly not kill the metaphorical cat, that is the world - it will simply supply us with the means to do so. Effectively, it already has (given us the weaponry required)... but that's another debate.

The problem to my mind (and evidently the mind of the OP) is that this could be seriously abused. In the future, I have a rather peculiar feeling this will be viewed along with the same kind of regret that is felt over the invention of the nuclear bomb. But in my opinion, this is far worse. I'm not a religious man, so my view is as follows; once a man is dead, he cannot be put though pain any longer (death by nuclear bomb). But a living man, subjected to live in a world where all his thoughts could be intercepted, has real reason to want to die.

I just hope I never wake up and check this site and see an article named "First successful 'Mind writing'". Maybe they could port ZFS to the platform which is our brain?

Sorry if any of the above was a little incoherent, I'm in a bit of a rush.

Sam

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by raboof on Sat 13th Dec 2008 18:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

I just hope I never wake up and check this site and see an article named "First successful 'Mind writing'".


Too late ;) . Afaics this article is `only' about reading from the visual cortex - not things like the memory.

Writing to the visual cortex (to help blind people see) has been possible for years - for example check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEHpwaUDk3U .

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by sultanqasim on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Freaky and Pointless"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

I meant pointless as in it has no uses for anything good (sure, I can think of tons of evil and immoral uses though).

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by TQH ! on Sat 13th Dec 2008 10:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
TQH ! Member since:
2006-03-16

How about helping blind seeing?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by _xmv on Mon 15th Dec 2008 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Freaky and Pointless"
_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

what about this help us understand how the brain works.
what about this let you communicate with people in a coma

what about.. you guys are really short minded, and thinking that saying one thing that sound full of sense to you must be the strict truth and the Good/Right thing(tm)

what about.. thinking a bit deeper. that'd help humanity as a whole ;) even I am probably missing half the stuff. But i do try not to.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by irbis on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:42 UTC in reply to "Freaky and Pointless"
irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

This freaks me out, as it seems that it will lead to the final step of ending privacy - monitoring people's brains.

This technology is not mature, and even if it was, there's no reason to go into cyperpunk scifi mode. As far as I can see the test was done in very restricted laboratory test enviroment where most variables could be controlled and known in advance; but free real life situations are a totally different scale thing.

There are much easier ways to investigate the values and thinking of someone, like using well-tested interrogation methods, doing classical psychological personality tests and analysis, or (speaking of computers) looking into the contents of his computer hard drives or following his Internet usage habits,

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by Ressev on Sun 14th Dec 2008 03:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Freaky and Pointless"
Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

There are much easier ways to investigate the values and thinking of someone, like using well-tested interrogation methods, doing classical psychological personality tests and analysis, or (speaking of computers) looking into the contents of his computer hard drives or following his Internet usage habits,


While the technology is currently immature, the ability to 'read' someone without their knowledge would have tremendous covert applications.

Then, of course, there is the feedback loop probabilities one could create with this after it has been combined with other technologies: torture, punishment, "rehabilitation" of an Orwellian nature, virtual entertainment, and mass data processing and sorting via the human mind where the elements a computer might overlook due to programing are more likely to be useful to name a few applications.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by gfolkert on Mon 15th Dec 2008 13:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
gfolkert Member since:
2008-12-15

While the technology is currently immature, the ability to 'read' someone without their knowledge would have tremendous covert applications.


Umm, ok. If you are using your muscles, or brain for thought you are transmitting (anything electrical does in one form or another), you are giving the the ability for anyone to read your transmissions. At this point its not very far from you head or body... but effectively you are a walking RF transmitter. It *IS* only a matter of time (and budget and intent and "curiosity") before *whomever* wants it, could read your mind without your knowledge. It just depends on how sensitive the receiver is and how well the signal is understood to decode it. Signal discrimination is the small part, signal decoding... well now that's the whole point though.

Of course, that in-temple brain interface port you've been wanting since "System Shock" helped you understand what it could do would be even more easily eavesdropped. Or was it the Internal Nanonics that Captain Joshua "LaGrange" Calvert used, that impressed you?

Or was it Jeordi LaForge that helped you *see* the light?

Come on... doof... you are showing your paranoia.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by leos on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:34 UTC in reply to "Freaky and Pointless"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

1. Why do we need this technology? What good can it be used for?


Umm, human/computer interface for people with disabilites? There are a ton of people that can't use a mouse or keyboard and can only communicate with specialized devices at a very low rate. A brain computer interface capable of spelling words would be a huge boon for many tens/hundreds of thousands of people.

2. This freaks me out, as it seems that it will lead to the final step of ending privacy - monitoring people's brains. What next? Turning people into robo-slaves of some dictator that have no will or control over themselves?


Blah blah blah tinfoil hat blah blah fearmongering blah. How did this get modded up?

Edited 2008-12-12 22:37 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by sultanqasim on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Freaky and Pointless"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

I know that this is a controversial perspective but in a way, making the disabled capable leads to anti-evolution, poorer genes, and dependence on technology.

Back hundreds of years ago, people were much tougher than our current medicine/biotech dependent society.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by Michael on Sat 13th Dec 2008 00:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
Michael Member since:
2005-07-01

making the disabled capable leads to anti-evolution, poorer genes, and dependence on technology.

Are you saying people with genetically transferred disabilities shouldn't be allowed to survive long enough to mate? Because that's how evolution handled this little problem. Might I suggest that the technology of genetic modification could, instead be used to control such illnesses.

But you have to be careful. The question of what genes are good and bad is not as clear cut as you might think. It depends on your environment. For example, a strong immune system might get you through childhood alive but will start attacking your body in middle age. So if disease isn't too common where you grow up, you may be better of with a weak immune system.

Back hundreds of years ago, people were much tougher than our current medicine/biotech dependent society.

Yes, because they had to build stone walls by hand and walk everywhere. They were also shorter and didn't live anything like as long as we do.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by rhyder on Sat 13th Dec 2008 00:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
rhyder Member since:
2005-09-28

Back hundreds of years ago, people were much tougher than our current medicine/biotech dependent society.


Do you have any proof of that? Life expectancies are at an all time high. Apart from that, what if someone can't move their limbs but they have a brilliant brain, like Stephen Hawking? Should we let them die or erect barriers to their ability to make a contribution?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Freaky and Pointless
by Almindor on Sat 13th Dec 2008 08:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless"
Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

First I need to state that I wouldn't live without being saved by technology (and no, I don't thank the doctors, the first one almost got me killed).

However,you missed his point. Sure there's exceptions like Hawking, but the point is on a global evolutionary scale. One can't ignore the fact that the human race is degenerating.

At first it seemed like our bodies will go only, that the brain will get better, but I think it's clear now that at least in a capitalist consumer society the general populace IQ will drop over time too. The "we're all equal" BS is turning us into a cesspool of cr*p. (yes, we're all equal on one level as human beings, but we're not all equal e.g: on talent level).

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Freaky and Pointless
by -oblio- on Sat 13th Dec 2008 11:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Freaky and Pointless"
-oblio- Member since:
2008-05-27

http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/flynneffect.shtml

We're getting more intelligent per generation. Not smarter, but we probably have more information available than our parents, and
Intelligence = Information x Ability to processs it.

BTW, this is just a theory, like yours. I don't think it's totally true, but at least it has some facts behind it, not like your little rant.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by hashnet on Sat 13th Dec 2008 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
hashnet Member since:
2005-11-15

there are no good or bad genes.
Only genes that are more or less conducive to survival and reproduction in an environment.
The thing is, the environment might change, and "good" genes might become "bad" then.
The few people who lasted longer in the nazi extermination camps were of rather short stature. They could better withstand food deprivation, mistreatment and illness than the tall and strong ones. The latter were also used as burden slaves and disposed of when they could no longer perform.
In the end, the few survivors were rather diminutive people.
This was another environment, and the fitness criteria were different.

Yet another environment might be brought to us in the form of a pandemic. Then we'll see who's got the "good" genes.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by darknexus on Sat 13th Dec 2008 12:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

To be honest when I first saw this post of yours, my initial reaction was to wish you were right in front of me so I could flay you alive... slowly. Thinking about it further, though, it's a valid line of logic, and one I've actually wondered about myself. In the end, however, it doesn't hold up. The world is heading this way regardless, so even if you cut accessibility completely out all you'd have is a world that is dependent on technology that a certain segment of the population couldn't use. It's not empowering the disabled that is causing this, it is our own natures. We, the human race, like to have things as easy as possible--least output and most gain. We are very much a lazy race of creatures, and we've always been dependent on technology. Always. The only difference between thousands of years ago and now is that some of the technology is better, and it can help us with more. But, to the early human race, knives were technology. The wheel was technology. As soon as a technological aid was discovered, no matter how small we might view it today, we as a race became dependent upon it. To remove technology entirely would be to remove civilization itself.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by wannabe geek on Sat 13th Dec 2008 22:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

I agree, over several generations human genes tend to "take for granted" medical technology, so to speak, until the average rate of hereditary illnesses reaches a new equilibrium. But there are lots of sensible things to do about that. I think some form of embryo selection will be the main reproduction method in a few years. Most prospective parents want to have healthy children.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Freaky and Pointless
by spiderman on Sun 14th Dec 2008 18:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

I know that this is a controversial perspective but in a way, making the disabled capable leads to anti-evolution, poorer genes, and dependence on technology.

Back hundreds of years ago, people were much tougher than our current medicine/biotech dependent society.

I believe you understand evolution wrong.
The lions and the tigers are much tougher than us. Still the tigers and the lions and an endangered species or close to. The dinausors were very tough but they disappeared.
Why is the human so weak and still the most successful specy on this world? It's because we are social, we help each other and we are intelligent. The dolphins fight the sharks in band, the sharks are tougher but the dolphins are more successful.
That is what evolution really is. We don't need to be tougher and stronger, we don't need big teeth and big muscles. What we need is to love each other, to help each other and to walk all together. Nothing can stop us if we organize and care for each other. If we have to evolve further and become stronger, we have to develop the real strenght of the human race: love, friendship, mutual understanding and we have to take care of everybody. This is what will make us even more successful. History and logic will show you that muscles is a poor genetical asset when compared to love. Those who don't understand are the ones who are doomed and that will be taken off by evolution.

Edited 2008-12-14 18:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 13th Dec 2008 01:02 UTC in reply to "Freaky and Pointless"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

1. Why do we need this technology? What good can it be used for?


Aside from making most existing input devices obsolete?

2. This freaks me out, as it seems that it will lead to the final step of ending privacy - monitoring people's brains. What next? Turning people into robo-slaves of some dictator that have no will or control over themselves?


The Matrix wasn't a documentary, you know ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by ari-free on Sun 14th Dec 2008 02:36 UTC in reply to "Freaky and Pointless"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

"Why do we need this technology? What good can it be used for? "

If we asked that question before the release of every technology, we'd still be stuck in the stone age.
Technology is in most cases morally neutral (except for tech that is derived at the expense of human life); it is up to us to choose whether it can be used for good or evil. The last thing we need is a Luddite nanny state that thinks it is smarter than everyone else.

Edited 2008-12-14 02:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Where's the article?
by irbis on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:19 UTC
irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

The link to the article doesn't work at the moment. Are we supposed to guess it by using computer aided telepathy?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Where's the article?
by mounty on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:29 UTC in reply to "Where's the article?"
mounty Member since:
2005-12-12

Found after a brief search for some relevant terms: http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/11/japanese-researchers-create-imag...

Reply Score: 1

Link flawed
by Ringheims Auto on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:25 UTC
Ringheims Auto
Member since:
2005-07-23
Darn....
by obsidian on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:48 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

.... there goes my pr0n-browsing.....

Reply Score: 4

Visual Cortex active when dreaming?
by slashdev on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:02 UTC
slashdev
Member since:
2006-05-14

My neuroscience isnt the greatest but i didnt think REM had anything to do with what you were actually withnessing in your dreams. I thought dreams were purely a mental exercise. Like if i imagine i am in an airplane, my visual cortex doesnt actually activate with images of an airplane, right?

The technology is interesting though, think about how it changes movie piracy or spying? have one of these things hidden somewhere and you can record an entire movie, or stick it on a wireless one on a drug dealer.

But anywho, this article is misleading. It doesnt read your mind, and it (from what i understand about dreaming) wont let you see people's dreams. Its a recording device, like sticking a microphone on you, but it records visual impulses from your eye instead if vibrations from your larynx.

Reply Score: 3

v No!
by Hussein on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:16 UTC
neat, but!
by poundsmack on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:50 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

I have a special computer that is like this to. I turn it on, sit down infront of it, and BAM! it boots up to p0rn. "OMG how did it know" ;)

but in all seriousness, this is a rather remarkable break through. ...then again i thought that about the above mentioned computer as well at the time ;)

Reply Score: 2

Marconi in Newfoundland
by braddock on Fri 12th Dec 2008 23:45 UTC
braddock
Member since:
2005-07-08

Hear that static? Listen REAL hard for the three dots we told them to send before we got on the boat. dit dit dit. Hear it? Obviously we have proven transatlantic radio transmission... maybe...

Shannon would be unimpressed.

Reply Score: 0

IT and medicine
by Janvl on Sat 13th Dec 2008 12:14 UTC
Janvl
Member since:
2007-02-20

Hi,

most of the reactions show that there is not much idea of neurological functions. This experiment shows that one can read info from the visual cortex, nothing more. Dreaming is so complex that it is comparing 1+1=2 with the formulas that derscribe the mendelbroth equations. So we should not worry, the way a brain functions is immensely more complex then any computer.

BTW I once studied medicine and ended in IT later.

Reply Score: 1

They have a stargate
by krom on Sun 14th Dec 2008 03:00 UTC
krom
Member since:
2006-09-29

And are in contact with the ancients.

Reply Score: 1

wannabe geek's genes
by Janvl on Sun 14th Dec 2008 12:23 UTC
Janvl
Member since:
2007-02-20

@ wannabe geek

Nature by itself sorts out bad embryo's, about 90% disappear as spontaneous abortions, unnoticed.

A simple way to avoid the polluted gene-pool is to have a woman out of another society, like they did in ancient times like the stone age.

Mixing is still the most healthy thing to do.

Reply Score: 1

RE: wannabe geek's genes
by wannabe geek on Sun 14th Dec 2008 19:49 UTC in reply to "wannabe geek's genes"
wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

@ wannabe geek

Nature by itself sorts out bad embryo's, about 90% disappear as spontaneous abortions, unnoticed.

A simple way to avoid the polluted gene-pool is to have a woman out of another society, like they did in ancient times like the stone age.

Mixing is still the most healthy thing to do.


What you say is true, but it doesn't contradict my (and the original poster's) point. Nature does a lot of embryo selection, but further, deliberate, embryo selection will be needed IF we want to avoid an increase in formerly deadly hereditary illnesses, as humanity's genetic pool slowly shifts towards a new balance where medical (and other) technology gets into the equation.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Nycran
by Nycran on Sun 14th Dec 2008 13:30 UTC
Nycran
Member since:
2006-02-06

Most technologies can be used for both good and evil, and thankfully the good use usually overrides the bad, although not always.

As others have stated, my instant reaction was that this could be used to revolutionise interface. Computing could become integrated deeply with thinking, and certainly the mouse and keyboard would be quickly obsoleted.

The future is always both frightening and exciting - I wouldn't have it any other way.

Reply Score: 1

Artist
by Bounty on Mon 15th Dec 2008 18:29 UTC
Bounty
Member since:
2006-09-18

Wonder if they get better at this:

what an artist could do?

what an engineer could record before he forgets?

same for many scientists?

new form of communication? (THIS is what I mean, followed by projected image)

how it could help the disabled?

how it could change how we interface with computers? (no more mouse, just imagine the icon you want to select)

how it could help solve (or create) crime

very interesting.

Reply Score: 1