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 technologymany 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

 

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less

Brazilian scientists produce mini-brains with eyes

Using a new process, a mini-brain develops retinal cells.

Surprising Science
  • Mini-brains, or "neural organoids," are at the cutting edge of medical research.
  • This is the first one that's started developing eyes.
  • Stem cells are key to the growing of organoids of various body parts.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less