Scientists at Berlin’s Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience are developing a mind-reading machine that will enable them to figure out a person’s intention before he acts upon it, which, well, is pretty much what intention is all about. They claim that they now have the capability of identifying a test person’s decision about how he will later solve a mathematical problem (simple addition or subtraction).

While still in its initial stages, this technology could eventually have wide-ranging implications for everything ranging from criminal interrogations to airline security checks to marketing to job interviews to dating services to playing poker to poll-taking and voting to telling your girlfriend you were on a business trip to conversations with insurance salesmen to turning what started out as a seemingly harmless discussion between to what had up until then been a happily-married couple into a real mess to bidding on eBay.

“We’re absolutely thrilled by the prospects,” said one smug researcher. “The hard part of the research was identifying which part of the mind stores intention. We finally located it in the prefrontal cortex region by scanning the brain for bursts of activity whenever subjects where given choices.”

He then grinned vacantly out into space for thirty seconds or so, having suddenly lost contact with his prefrontal cortex region. Then he remembered what he had intended to say: “Of course this only works with the male subjects,” he continued dryly. “Whenever we give the girl subjects a few things to choose from, the whole damned brain lights up.”

Civil libertarians and practically everybody else on the planet are concerned that this type of mind-reading technology may-not-yet-maybe-might-not-quite-be ready to unleash upon the unsuspecting public. But another spokesman for the Bernstein Center said “Don’t worry. We have absolutely no intention to doing so just yet. Ha, ha. ‘Intention’, get it?”

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

Be Sociable, Share!