after the sleeping comes the waking up.

Can you read MY mind?

Posted by c. wagner on November 5, 2009

More and more, life seems to be imitating science fiction. One of yesterday’s headlines was

Psychic computer shows your thoughts on screen

Despite the exciting language, the system can’t read your mind. It can reproduce, in a fuzzy way, images that a person in a functional MRI (fMRI) is seeing or thinking of. It uses the fMRI’s indications of what parts of the brain are stimulated by an image as input for a fancy bit of software that uses that information to generate images on a computer screen. The images are really low resolution and occasionally missing important elements. They can’t yet capture sounds or abstract thoughts. Just images.

But still, it’s a really cool technology.

Of course, the article threatens that this may someday be used to pry into Joe-on-the-street’s private thoughts. Somehow they’re forgetting that the program requires the target be in a huge piece of medical equipment for it to work at all. And it can’t “see” anything but images. There’s a long way to go until we can aim a camera at someone and read their thoughts.

Read the article at the Times Online.


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