My Creepy Science Story

Creepy. They are literally reading minds!

I did a story on the air tonight about an experiment carried out at UC Berkeley. Using an MRI researchers were able to get brain imagery as subjects watched movies. The researchers then used that data to display an image similar to what the subject was seeing!

Amazing. Creepy. They are literally reading minds!

I don’t want anyone knowing what I’m thinking. It’s important to think without a filter, to consider lots of ideas you’ll never follow. That’s best done without outside scrutiny.

We are rapidly losing privacy. Maybe no one’s specifically tracking your every move right now, but if you carry a cellphone where you’ve been is available. So is where, when and what you buy.

Companies on the Internet track our every move. You’re usually anonymous and only considered in the aggregate, but the specific details of what you do are preserved and if someone really wanted to know they could.

My mind is the last place I can truly keep secrets. I don’t want it opened up for exploration.

It is possible that decoding brain activity could have serious ethical and privacy implications downstream in, say, the 30- to 50-year time frame. – The Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley

No joke.


10 thoughts on “My Creepy Science Story”

  1. I’ll never see it in my lifetime, but I’m thinking someone is going to come up with a way for us to transfer what we’re thinking into some sort of typographical interface, i.e. word processor. Something like that could be useful for authors. Who knows. Just my vision.

  2. I have long thought that Star Trek has envisioned a fairly accurate representation of our future.

    However – that future is not the Federation of Planets – it’s the Borg.

  3. While I do think the idea of being able to “replay” a dream that you had, is a really neat concept, I too, do not want people to be able to figure out what I am thinking. I already have too many friends that are “in my head” so to speak, where they will say something I was just thinking about. But to think they will have this technology and the thought that they could tweak it over years to be able to do like they did in that movie with the ads changing depending on who is looking, NOT liking that idea. Facebook already does that with their ads, Ill post something about pain, or parenting and I get ads for things related to what I posted. They work off of what I write though, not off of what i Think. And I agree Geoff, my own brain is the safest place for my secrets. Diane K wrote about being able to transcribe your thoughts like, onto the word processing program or something, now THAT is a cool Idea.

  4. I remember the days you could jump in the car and go for a ride and listen to the radio. No-one could bother you. It was truly a good time to be alone and think about life. last week I went to Boston and got 5 calls from people waiting for me to get their. I miss the sounds of a “real” telephone ringing……

    1. Ehh, I’m sorry Peter but I need to disagree. My personal phone is MY asset. When I want to go for a quiet drive through Fairfield or listen to music on I95, I _turn it off_. I pay for the phone and it is very much MY asset. The moment it becomes a nuisance to me or controls me, it has become a liability and needs to go. I refuse to be a slave to my possessions.

      I too agree with missing the sound of a real bell on a real rotary phone. Fortunately, there are some pretty good ring tones out there that simulate a bell to an almost indistinguishable level.

  5. I can see it now…fast forward to the year 2050….

    Hello Geoff,
    Thought police here. Your corporate issued mobile tracking and monitoring device has notified me that you’ve been thinking un-American thoughts about the Patriot Act. We would like you to remember that these laws are for your own safety and the security of all Americans. You do want America to be safe, dont you? Perhaps a weekend at our government facility in Cuba will make you reconsider your position.

    Sincerely yours,
    The Man

    Our technology is evolving faster than our social moral character. At some point, we as a society need to step back and start investing our intellectual capital into becoming more responsible stewards of our new technologies.

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