It appears that we are about 5-10 years away from seeing this technology mature to the point where it will become as ubiquitous as the cell phone. Once mature this technology will make our thoughts and memories completely transparent. It will completely eliminate privacy as we understand the notion today and redefine everything from court trials to job interviews. Imagine how different the O.J. Simpson trial or the recent Trayvon Martin trial would have been if we would have had the ability to make the thoughts and memories of Mr. Simpson or Mr. Zimmerman completely transparent.
1984 is here! No, wait. It was 29 years ago.
Once machines get that good, I imagine the lawyers will have a field day talking about whether it's a true or false image being recalled or generated.
Who knows what will come out of this technology ? I don't know because I don't know anything about the technology, or neurology.
Nonetheless, I don't think this technology will ever make it into the courts. Take the inexact science of lie detection which has been developing for over a century and sometimes employs technology with questioning techniques and the study of physiological reactions. Such is not used in courts of law because of inaccuracy although it has been used in law enforcement.
I don't think the judiciary will accept this technology at any time before the downfall of our species. It's the preserve of lawyers and the like to use questioning techniques and the examination of words in reply to determine evidential weight and they are unlikely to give the job to machines.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on your discussion.
Police using out-dated method of lie detection based on the study of physiological reactions..
Now that the govt is following our emails and cell phone calls, it will be great to have them reading our thoughts too! Soon the prisons will grow to hold hundreds of millions. Or we'll all be Soylent Green.
Especially with the conservative/liberal pendulum swing, which well could mean jesus enforcers in power again in the next decade. With the current "liberal" policies, I can only imagine what the conservatives will do with either science or pseudoscience supposedly reading people's thoughts.
I don't have a good opinion of the "Live Science" website. Some of their stuff seems OK, but some is shallow and reminds me of cheap pop-science magazines.
Hmm... I'm not entirely sure I can get onboard with everything you've claimed here. Just a few thoughts:
"It appears that we are about 5-10 years away from seeing this technology mature to the point where it will become as ubiquitous as the cell phone."
Based on the article alone, I'm not at all convinced of this. Why are you?
"Once mature this technology will make our thoughts and memories completely transparent."
The article only claims that the technology may have the capacity to codify and project our current thoughts into some form of computer media (at least, those which have been preprogrammed into the device); it does not claim to be able to scan our entire neurological wiring and see into our memories.
" It will completely eliminate privacy as we understand the notion today and redefine everything from court trials to job interviews."
I was more relaxed with your speculation about the ubiquity and capacities of this technology, but I think you may be just overreaching a bit much on this one. I don't think there's any Orwellian dystopia on the horizon yet, and we're getting a bit paranoid, because really it's a theoretical technology still in its infancy state, for all intents and purposes. I don't think the tinfoil helmets need to make their appearance just yet. What makes you think adjudicators (and citizens, for that matter) would allow this? We can't demonstrate that it is currently, or ever will be an infallible technology, and we haven't even begun to explore whether anyone will see this as ethical. It's interesting, to say the least, but I think the phrase "cool your jets" is somewhat apropos to anyone frightened by this at the present moment.
What I find interesting is that most initial reactions to the idea of essentially eliminating the ability to lie is met with resistance or looked at as a negative thing. Why should this idea elicit fear? I base my predictions primarily on the assumption that this area of science and its technology will grow at an exponential rate as any other area of science does. That is my general rule of thumb when trying to guess how far science will have progressed out into the future.
Fair enough. It's an interesting thing to consider, anyways. I'm always fascinated by this sort of thing.
I like the point that you've brought up about our ability to lie potentially being snuffed out invariably being met with hostility. Methinks we, as a species, enjoy our lies a little too much, maybe?
We do indeed. There are different levels that this sort of technology will have I think. First it will be the "undefeatable lie detector" which will be followed by the ability to actually see your thoughts, your memories and motivations. There is really no limit to it. Society will be forced to change in some very fundamental ways. Whether or not people will allow those sorts of insights into who they are will provoke some strong reactions. Telling the truth would cease to be a moral virtue as well I would think.
As Dr. House so eloquently puts it, "everybody lies". We've no idea what a society would look like if lying as a social tactic was eliminated completely. It is possible that your entire internal state could become completely transparent to this technology. Knowing that it would be impossible to deceive would have immediate effects in how people behave I would think.
I haven't thought about it enough yet to have a good opinion on the consequences, but I hate being lied to so much, that I would be willing to put-up with quite a few negative consequences to have lying eliminated.
I agree and I also think we might want to consider being proactive regarding this technology; it might be in our best interests to do some soul searching now. A person who resists this technology might find some negative reactions from those around them.
Actually, behavior would not matter if such technology ever becomes perfected and widespread, not even the very best behavior, because it still would not alter our thoughts, and humans really don't have much control over what thoughts come into their mind. Sometimes thoughts and images simply come to us unbidden. It's happened to us all at one time or another, and will continue to do so. Being angry at our boss might one day be enough to get us a prison sentence.
And who exactly will be the thought police in this dystopian future? :) You raise an interesting point. Let me propose a thought experiment: if I had a machine that would project your thoughts on a screen so that a room full of people could see your every thought as they occurred would you sit in the device and allow that to happen? How about if your family members were in the room as well?