Never mind! Soon it may not matter anymore what you say or write as science will be able to detect what you TRULY THINK, just by looking at your brain activity! Now, think about that for while!
As The Argus reports, the new technology researched by two University of Cambridge neuroscientists “...includes whether brain scanning should be used for a Minority Report-style justice system in which ‘criminals’ are singled out before they commit any crimes.” The Mirror pipes in with the headline “Pioneering brain scanning technology could allow scientists to read people’s minds.”
My guess: George Orwell (1903-1950) would be fascinated by the speed of development. His (1949) futuristic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is rapidly becoming outdated and obsolete.
It goes by the name of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and shows the blood-oxygen-level dependent brain activity. Areas which are working strongly are consuming more oxygen than those that are resting and can be so differentiated from each other. It is an entirely non-invasive imaging method, akin to ultrasound imaging of fetal development in a womb. The nearby picture shows a typical brain scan.
An fMRI image with yellow areas showing increased activity (See Below)
Clearly, imaging techniques like the fMRI have practical applications in the clinical world, like for brain tumor surgery, etc.
What is more questionable is the use to analyze what you may be thinking. For example, the method claims to be able to differentiate between what object you see with your eyes. Different brain regions are employed when you look at a house or a person and this ability leads to the idea of being able to “see” what you may be thinking.
Other possible uses of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology include lie detectors in courtrooms, anti-terrorist screening at airports and even so-called neuro-marketing, which could allow big business to determine how much a consumer really wants a product and adjust the price accordingly.
Of course, the technology may soon find its way into offices of the kind that want to protect civilisation from bad thoughts. That’s why “thought police” is an up-and-coming societal protection system. It’s especially keen to root out “micro-aggression” and related micro-faults that your mind may be suffering from. But no need to worry, there’s nothing that a little micro-reprogramming can’t fix.
As for shopping, the new technology will be able to make up your mind in a hurry too. You don’t even need to leave home, just go to the web, and you get all the information you want (except for some critical data). In other words:
Shopping used to be easy, decades ago. You went to a major outlet and looked at their wares, talked to a nice and friendly sales person (please note my gender-neutral expression) and, perhaps, decide on one or another of the offered items. Indeed, I still remember such an occasion, from 45 years ago, when, after having then acquired a home, my local “management” had advised me that we also needed a fridge, as well as washer and dryer. The sales person I met in the store was most knowledgeable and helpful, explained why one model was preferable over the other, from manufacturing details to reliability, energy consumption, etc.
Indeed, that advice was worth its weight in gold; our (now) 45 year old fridge is just running fine. The food and beer is cold and in the freezer compartment the ice and everything else is frozen stiff. What else do we need? To boot, this “non-connected” device probably consumes less energy than its “smart” upstart modern-day relatives.
Do we really need a new, “smart” fridge or neuroscientists that analyze our brain waves to tell us what to buy or eat?
Is anyone really better off with their fridge deciding what you should or might want to eat this evening? Let me tell you: I think that we are (still) perfectly able to decide that for ourselves and couldn’t care less about what the fridge may “think” about it or not. However, your fridge may not be the only “smart” household item at your place. Your TV may also send out information behind your back; TV-maker Vizio just paid $2.2 million in an out-of-court settlement for collecting and selling information on the viewing habits of millions of customers without their approval.
And as to what I really think about the mind-reading technology, just ask our fridge.
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