Mind-Reading Helmet Aims to Detect Thought Crimes
An American company is developing applied neuroscience technology that will allow operators to read the thoughts of someone and then perhaps classify them as dangerous.
What's the Latest Development?
A private company named Veritas is developing applied neuroscience technology that it hopes will allow the military to tell friend from foe on the battlefield. The technology consists of a motorcycle-like helmet "containing metal brush sensors that will read brain activity as images of, say, bomb specs or Osama bin Laden’s face flash quickly across the inside of the visor." A spike in brain activity, known as P300, occurs when individuals recognize an image as familiar. "Recognition indicates memory, and memory implies knowledge," or so the thinking goes.
What's the Big Idea?
Besides the technical shortcomings of the budding technology—many people now recognize Osama bin Laden, for example, but that hardly implies intimate knowledge of his dealings—permitting the military or law enforcement to gain access to your thoughts carries heavy moral implications. Orwell's dystopia naturally comes to mind, where citizens are prosecuted just for thinking of disobeying government protocol. There are other uses for the tool, however. It could save lives by helping soldiers identify dangerous objects, such as a roadside IED, before they would otherwise become consciously aware of what they were looking at.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.