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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old February 23 2009, 07:45 PM   #1
CuttingEdge100
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Brain Activity Can Identify Preferences

"Brain Activity Can Identify Preferences"
URL: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/stor...%7D&dist=msr_1

TORONTO, Feb 10, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Canadian biomedical engineering scientists say they've created a technique designed to aid children who can't speak or move.

The researchers at Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital -- Canada's largest children's rehabilitation teaching facility -- said their technique involves using infrared brain imaging to decode preferences, with the goal of ultimately opening the world of choice to children who can't speak or move.

The Bloorview scientists, affiliated with the University of Toronto, said they demonstrated the ability to decode a person's preference for one of two drinks with 80 percent accuracy by measuring the intensity of near-infrared light absorbed in brain tissue.
Previously in the past, scientists have been able to use fMRI's to determine a person's intent, what object they were looking at, and even what song they were listening to.

This system is different and is portable. It is worn like a headband which uses IR and near-IR light shined through the skull illuminating the brain and fluid which can be used to determine brain activity.

NASA interestingly has been using a similar system which was mounted inside a modified pilot's helmet for use in measuring brain activity required to fly aircraft with different cockpit configurations.

Unfortunately, there is a privacy issue with such technology. According to a Psychiatry Professor at CMU, he stated that with fMRI's he will probably be able to use it to "read minds" in 3 to 5 years.

Granted fMRI's require the subject to be in the machine, and that they don't have anything magnetic in them. However a near-IR, and IR light system is portable and can be worn like a headband or a helmet and will be able to produce similar results.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have expressed interest over the past couple of years in using fMRI and such things for use as an interrogation tool. This is extremely disturbing.

The even greater danger is if one day technology evolved to the point where this could be done from a distance... Privacy (what little we have left) would completely and irrevocably vanish.

The fact that for years the NSA has engaged in massive, widespread warrantless surveillance, does very little to inspire trust in the government regarding privacy rights and constitutional protections.

This is a very cause for concern.


Helen,
CuttingEdge100
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Old February 26 2009, 09:46 PM   #2
CuttingEdge100
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Re: Brain Activity Can Identify Preferences

I'm amazed nobody has anything to say
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