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 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by samw on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:58 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by sultanqasim on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:39 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by _xmv on Mon 15th Dec 2008 13:54 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 Parent Score: 1

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by irbis on Fri 12th Dec 2008 21:42 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by Ressev on Sun 14th Dec 2008 03:39 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 Parent Score: 1

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by leos on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:34 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 Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Freaky and Pointless
by sultanqasim on Fri 12th Dec 2008 22:43 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 Parent Score: 0

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 13th Dec 2008 01:02 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 Parent Score: 3

RE: Freaky and Pointless
by ari-free on Sun 14th Dec 2008 02:36 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 Parent Score: 2