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Thread: Scary or sensational? A machine that can look into the mind

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    finswin56's Avatar
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    Scary or sensational? A machine that can look into the mind

    MRI scans

    Scientists have developed a computerised mind-reading technique which lets them accurately predict the images that people are looking at by using scanners to study brain activity.
    The breakthrough by American scientists took MRI scanning equipment normally used in hospital diagnosis to observe patterns of brain activity when a subject examined a range of black and white photographs. Then a computer was able to correctly predict in nine out of 10 cases which image people were focused on. Guesswork would have been accurate only eight times in every 1,000 attempts.
    The study raises the possibility in the future of the technology being harnessed to visualise scenes from a person's dreams or memory.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...edicalresearch

    That's pretty darn cool.

    I couldn't help but think of the possibility of adapting its use as a lie detector.

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    Whoa. Can you imagine them requiring this for something like a job application?
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    Mike13's Avatar
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    Wouldnt that technically be an invasion of privacy?^
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    finswin56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike13 View Post
    Wouldnt that technically be an invasion of privacy?^
    how so? It's not like they're asking for a blood sample.
    Many employers do ask you to pass a drug test. Wouldn't this be like passing a lie detector?
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    Miamian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike13 View Post
    Wouldnt that technically be an invasion of privacy?^
    I don't know, I'm not a lawyer, but it seems that the question is if requiring it would be illegal.
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    Mike13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finswin56 View Post
    how so? It's not like they're asking for a blood sample.
    Many employers do ask you to pass a drug test. Wouldn't this be like passing a lie detector?
    Well I figure that your thoughts are pretty private unless you say them outloud.
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    finswin56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike13 View Post
    Well I figure that your thoughts are pretty private unless you say them outloud.
    It certainly is uncharted waters.

    I wonder what the difference is from an employer asking a job candidate if they use drugs and trusting his answer, as opposed to making that candidate take a test?

    IMO, it should be a tool that employers get to use, but it's scope needs to be limited. Just like how interviews are currently limited with the questions the employer can ask. New questions on that prohibited list could be added, but I don't know what they are
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    Regan21286's Avatar
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    That's pretty neat. I happened to come across it while I was searching for references for a paper we're going to publish soon. Here's the full text link of the actual paper for those who dare: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture06713.html

    Though it's a big leap from seeing how people interpret images in their brain to sensing lies or dreams. Since everyone's hard-wired in a different way, to produce decoding of that line would take a long time to process and won't be a slam dunk next to DNA or drug testing. Figuring that plus the cost of having to perform MRI's (around $1800 for us though for more fine detail like this, it could reach $3000 a pop), when such supply is limited, makes it unfeasable for employers. At the research lab I'm in, a good amount of our grant money goes directly into MRI's and other tests. And that doesn't even get into the ethics or legality of such a procedure.

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    saves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike13 View Post
    Wouldnt that technically be an invasion of privacy?^

    Although it is a controversial subject, there is no explicit right to privacy in the Constitution.

    Here is something cool I found if you want to read a little more about the issue http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/proj...ofprivacy.html
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