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Science & Technology

Will true mind reading be possible in 2017 ?

By T.K. Randall
December 23, 2016 · Comment icon 10 comments

Can you read someone else's mind through a computer ? Image Credit: YouTube / University of Washington
Recent advances in computer-brain interfaces could soon make brain-to-brain communication a reality.
It might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but researchers have already managed to create brain-computer interfaces capable of reading and interpreting human thought patterns.

One of the biggest hurdles in reading what someone is thinking is understanding how specific thoughts are represented by different patterns of brain activity. These patterns are not the same for everyone - how we think about any given concept depends on our own experiences and memories.

To create true brain-to-brain communication, it will be necessary to interpret the thoughts of one person and then trigger those same memories in the recipient via a computer.
Incredibly, something like this has already been attempted. In one experiment, two people in separate rooms were asked to play a game of 20 questions while connected up to a computer.

Each 'yes' or 'no' response was picked up by the system which then used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation to trigger a current in the other person's brain.

One day it might even be possible for two people to exchange thoughts over the Internet, perhaps even a worldwide 'brain net' of interconnected minds all sharing information back and forth.

Whether such a scenario is achievable (or even desirable) however remains to be seen.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (10)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by BadChadB33 8 years ago
Now I'll really know what the wife thinks. Maybe I'd rather not know.
Comment icon #2 Posted by MWoo7 8 years ago
hahahah GOTTA LOVE THAT, Oh didn't know Wise Men / Magi still existed  BadChadB33 " Now I'll really know what the wife thinks. Maybe I'd rather not know. ""
Comment icon #3 Posted by FlyingAngel 8 years ago
Such technology already exists :
Comment icon #4 Posted by Mark56 8 years ago
A question I would've asked Dr. Kaku is why couldn't we, theoretically at least, create a sentient machine or system? To me, sentience meaning an entity of some sort that's aware of it's own being/consciousness, having a sense of being a "somebody" and aware of other somebodies around it. I can see this devolving into the spiritual philosophy vs hard science debate. Very interesting.
Comment icon #5 Posted by ChaosRose 8 years ago
I sure hope not.
Comment icon #6 Posted by brlesq1 8 years ago
Brain-net? No thanks. I have enough trouble with my own thoughts--I don't need anybody else's.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Parsec 8 years ago
I don't get your question (yet, I'm not Kaku, so maybe that's why).  It's been decades that we are trying to achieve a really sentient ai, capaple of passing the Turing test and being genuinely able to "think for itself", developing its own patterns, thoughts, questions and answers, and not reproducing some instructions provided by the programmers.  We haven't been able to do it yet.    It's not that we don't want, rather that we can't yet.    Some, like Kurzweil, think that when we'll reach that point, that will be the "singularity", where everything will change (and potentially humanki... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by highdesert50 8 years ago
We should ask the question too, do you really want insight into unfiltered thoughts? We violate the delicate aspects of an eon of evolved communication and interaction. We violate the notion of mastery of what we say until we say it and the wisdom of knowing when. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by lucky1988 8 years ago
I do not think that mind reading will be possible in 2017. Moreover, I think it will not be possible for another 100 years and even more. Perhaps, it will become possible once AI passes the Turing test and that does not seem to happen soon. When I will chat with a bot and will not guess that I am talking to a robot, then we will have a chance to create some device to communicate with our minds. For now, a machine cannot even make a proper translation that is why I always use . As for mind reading, I am not sure that I would like to read other people'... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
I think the tech to translate brain patterns to language (text) will be along shortly as an extension of the speech-to-text paradigm. There will be much more individual device training required on the part of the user, but it's nearly possible now. Direct thought transfer though, is still sci-fi. 

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