- Education and Science
Brain Scans Read Minds?
Recently I read an article in which a study was being done to attempt to use brain scans to understand what people are thinking about. Measuring the activity of the brain scientists were able to understand simple things. The first step was to show people objects and have then perform actions to measure the brain activity. Once they understood how the readings measured for each object they were about to get a separate group of people to think of objects and were able to know what the objects were according to the brain scan readings.
Another part of the experiment involved a group of lucid dreamers. While in a controlled dreamlike state the lucid dreamers were asked to squeeze their hands move their feet, etc. Each time they performed an action in their dream state the brain registered the movement just as it did when they were actually moving however during the dream state their bodies were not actually moving.
Yet another experiment had a database with thousands of brain scans connected to images in a computer system. Each time someone connected for a brain scan would think of an object the computer would attempt to match the scan to an image. The computer was very accurate.
As these experiments progress it seems an eventuality that scientists will one day be able to read complex thoughts with brain scans. With all of these experiments leading in a direction of reading minds one has to ask several questions. Even now a court can order a brain scan and people are required to comply.
If it becomes a common thing for scans to reveal your thoughts does that mean that the legal system has control and ownership of your thoughts? Also would to right not to incriminate oneself be null and void as officials could just easily scan you for anything they want including confessions. Would we one day be required to comply for mandatory brain scans simply to check that we are not engaged in anything illegal? Would we lose the privacy of even our inner most thoughts? Could we be persecuted for our beliefs by an oppressive regime as they could simply read our thoughts to know what we agree and do not agree with.
There is a great potential for human advancement and so many ways it could help us but there are also many instances I can think of for horrible abuse of such knowledge. My questions are many and I am sure there are many more I haven't thought of but it is certainly something to think about.
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