Saturday, December 16, 2006

Controlled by Thought

I remember movies and books where people would have little holes put in their heads with I/O units attached to them so they could hook their brains directly to a computer. This is disturbing on a couple of levels. First off there is a considerable "Yuck Factor". Secondly, I would be concerned about any information going into the brain, especially unwanted material (I could just imagine the mental equivalent of a computer virus . . . scary.)

It might not be necessary

Scientists from the University of Washington, led by Rajesh Rao, have created a robot that acts on mental commands picked up by an electrode cap worn on the head. It is not 100% effective and is very limited but it is astonishing.

The possibities boggle the mind. We could make just about anything work on mental commands (provided you where the electrode cap.)

I still have concerns though. If a device can pick up instructions can a "a mind reading device" (which I have long considered impossible -- but I could be wrong) be made? Could the flow of information be reversed? Any of these could be badly abused by the state, our enemies, or even borderline legal businesses. It's a ways off yet but we need to think about it.


Blogger Skip said...

I can see it now.... people sitting at home "thinking" about a robbery or abduction.... great alibi tho!! I was at work or I was already in jail..

12:17 PM  

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