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Real-Life Mind-Reading With MRI

Boffins discover that they could be able to read a person's thoughts with around 50 percent accuracy by using a novel MRI scanning method.

(MRI reads minds)

But the researchers point out that it took 16 hours of training, with someone listening to podcasts in an MRI machine, for the computer model to understand their brain patterns and interpret what they were thinking.

People were also able to ‘sabotage’ the technology, using methods like mentally listing animals’ names, to stop it reading their thoughts.

Jerry Tang, lead author of the study from the University of Texas at Austin, said he could not prove ‘a false sense of security’ that the technology might not have the potential to eavesdrop on people’s thoughts in the future, and said it could be ‘misused’ now...

‘I think, right now, while the technology is in such an early state, it's important to be proactive and get a head-start on, for one, enacting policies that protect people's mental privacy, giving people a right to their thoughts and their brain data.

The first time I read about this idea was in Daemon, the amazing and still futuristic 2009 novel by Daniel Suarez. He describes how mind-reading might be accomplished with MRI and what can be done with it by an autonomous system:

"...You’re here so I can determine whether your motivations are compatible with mine." Sobol gestured as if he were physically present. "The equipment around you is a powerful functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. It is scanning the neural activity of your brain in real time. Neurons work like logic gates on a computer chip, firing electrical signals in specific sequences to accomplish certain tasks or to conceive certain generalized concepts." Sobol paused.

"It is a controversial fact that technology has discovered a way to see not only truth or falsehood in a person, but their very thought processes in action. Even before they can act upon those thoughts. Dissembling or deliberate deceit is orchestrated by the frontal lobes . . .." The frontal lobes were highlighted on the left-hand screen—over the image of what was presumably Mosely’s brain. Other areas were highlighted in turn as Sobol continued, "Fear, aggression, empathy, and recognition all have their unique signatures in the human brain. Mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, also have their telltale patterns. So you see, you can hide nothing from me. I am about to know you better than anyone has ever known you. Perhaps even better than you know yourself."

Mosely was starting to tremble again. He saw the colors change in the brain diagram on the left-hand screen. He instinctively knew it was fear.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/25/2023)

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