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Machines that read your mind

By Fortunesfool     Mar 23, 2007 in Technology
Neuroscientists say they have invented a machine that can literally read your mind.
Using something called functional magnetic resonance imaging they have been able too, under controlled conditions, tell which image you are looking and whether you are thinking of a face, animal or scene. Your actions can even be predicted, they can tell which finger you are about to move.
However, they want to go further. John-Dylan Haynes, a researcher at Germany's Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, is looking to develop a way to to predict thoughts and behavior from fMRI scans (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
He is looking to establish the physical basis of free will: "Why do we shape intentions in this way or another way?" he wonders. "Your wishes, your desires, your goals, your plans—that's the core of your identity."
Obviously such experiments and scans raise ethical issues. Haynes understands these and is uncomfortable with the use of these scans for commercial purposes but is for their use in criminal cases. Eventually perhaps it will be possible to predict and maybe even convict on the basis of intended behaviour but whether this would be infallible or not has to be open to debate.
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