Thursday, February 08, 2007

confusion

"A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act.

The research breaks controversial new ground in scientists' ability to probe people's minds and eavesdrop on their thoughts, and raises serious ethical issues over how brain-reading technology may be used in the future.

The team used high-resolution brain scans to identify patterns of activity before translating them into meaningful thoughts, revealing what a person planned to do in the near future. It is the first time scientists have succeeded in reading intentions in this way.

"Using the scanner, we could look around the brain for this information and read out something that from the outside there's no way you could possibly tell is in there. It's like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall," said John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who led the study with colleagues at University College London and Oxford University."

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1 comment:

JT said...

What is not clear from the reports is whether the brain scans can interpret a person's thoughts or intentions before s/he is fully aware of them. If this turns out to be the case, it casts doubt on the whole concept of free will. Whether the individual actually has a choice, or whether choice is an illusion. If scientists can "read" what the choice is before we even make it, then we are in effect programmed in whatever we do, aren't we? From which it follows that no individual can be fully responsible for their actions? Scary stuff.