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.
If this technology to read minds ever becomes perfected, and I have every reason to believe it will one day based on my research, then what becomes of the harmless, little white lie, such as when your overweight female friend asks how she looks in her new tight fitting dress ? Such a technology could lead to the loss of friends who you genuinely care for, and would not want to hurt by telling them the actual truth instead of the little white lie. The way technology has a tendency to progress exponentially once it gets underway makes me think that such a thing cannot be too awfully far off. In my own personal opinion I don't think it will take as long as even 100 years to perfect. I think it possible it could even be perfected within the next 10 to 20 years. But that's just my own opinion. I could be wrong, I have been before.
Once mature this technology will make our thoughts and memories completely transparent.
Upon seeing this discussion I first recalled one result of going to the Catholic schools my dad sent his kids to. The nuns laid so much guilt on me for my sexual thoughts that I sometimes feared I had a miniature movie screen on my forehead that everyone who looked at me could see. Yeah, Catholicism destroys healthy minds.
The devices that were once called lie detectors proved to be no more than nervousness detectors. I understand that this is the reason that courts ruled against their use.
This was the case in a demonstration at a club meeting. The examiner connected the electrodes and handed me several dissimilar coins. He asked me to choose one and place the others where he could not see them. I did and he asked me several questions to which my replies would tell him which coin I'd kept. I was laughing and tried hard to conceal my laughter. His machine left smooth lines on the paper.
He tried a second time and I, still laughing, gave his machine no reaction. He started asking his questions the third time and I stopped laughing. I gave his machine the reactions he needed and he identified the coin I'd kept.
I of course crowed for years that I had beaten a lie detector.
I've read reports that an fMRI machine can pick up changes in blood flow to parts of the brain that will allow accurate detection of truth-telling and lie-telling.
A machine that can translate the electro-chemical actions in the brain to the contents of thought will provide sci-fi writers with material to entertain their readers for a few more decades.
More decades will pass before any such machine can pick up brain action wirelessly.
I don't think it will be decades; I think we will see it before the end of this decade. The amount of money being poured into this research is increasing exponentially and these questions are truly one of that last frontiers of the unexplored that science has. There is too much attention being paid to this field for it to take that long, in my opinion anyway. It will be interesting to watch!
As you can see, others are starting to ask the same questions we are discussing. This was just posted on LinkedIn:
Here's an interesting thought, Richard.
I haven't scoured every single comment on here yet, so forgive me if this topic has already been broached, but I can't help wondering if this technology would also reshape the manner in which people understand truth, their own motives, etc. In other words, could this be modified in such a way that people could no longer lie to themselves, either?
It sounds crazy, but is it possible that something like this could actually change one's internal state, if it could be said that it will make transparent something like that as you've mentioned?
I think that would be the most beneficial result of this technology for the individual. It would force us to be honest with ourselves first and foremost. To me that can only be a good thing for the individual and society as a whole.