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Mind-reading computers

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Doctor Q, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Intel is working on ways for computers to read minds. Researchers are studying maps of brain waves to determine how a computer can detect what word you are thinking of.

    Preliminary tests of the system have shown that the computer can work out words by looking at similar brain patterns and looking for key differences that suggest what the word might be.

    "A food related word like apple, however, produces activity in those parts of the brain related to hunger. So the computer can infer attributes to each word being thought about and this lets the computer zero down on what the word is pretty quickly.
    I wonder how well it will work with Mac users. After all, when they think of the word "apple" they might not be thinking of the edible kind!. But it's still cool to hear about the progress being made.

    Are you ready to control your computer by thinking?
  2. macrumors 603

    I don't think it'll be too useful in general. How would you prevent it from keying on distractions? We'd finally know exactly how many times a day the average male thinks about T&A, but not much real work would get done.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Judging by some of the characters in my office, you might as well just have a room full of monkeys typing. You would get the same results as a mind reading computer.:D
  4. macrumors 604


    I think that this is an area where science is trying to go too far. While the concept is cool, I believe that the consequences of developing technology like this will not be ideal. I'd rather err on the side of caution for technologies like this.
  5. Moderator emeritus


    Completely agree.

    The Computer Science person in me sees this as cool.

    The Common Sense person in me sees this as opening a can of worms that needs not be open.

    I don't need big brother lurking around in my head!

    On a side note, the T&A comment above had me laughing.
    "Honey what are you doing on the computer?"
    "Just checking out the stock market."
    <Flash T&A image of old GF.>
    "Honey, what was that?"
    "Computer glitch."
    <Flash multiple T&A images of old GF in compromising positions.> "
    "Doesn't look like a computer glitch to me."
    <Wife steps closer to computer to see and enters mind reading sphere.>
    <Computer begins to read wife's brain ...>

    Cool and interesting technology. But don't think it would be a good idea.
  6. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    I think it's the next century's version of handwriting and speech recognition. Impossible at first, awful and error-prone in early implementations, but better and better as they found more reliable techniques and threw more processing power at the problem. It required per-person training to work properly, then got better at working without all the personalization. Eventually the technology became useful for certain practical purposes, but it will never be perfect.

    Won't thought-control follow the same path?

    I can imagine looking at a menu and thinking the name to make it open, then thinking of the menu choice to select it. With the limited set of possible words it's more likely to work that if we think to type text.
  7. macrumors P6


    Be very careful here!! :eek:

    This was the first step in the extinction of the Krell.

  8. macrumors Penryn


    And like many people here, I bet it won't be able to tell the difference between "they're" and "their" either.
  9. Ttownbeast, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012

    macrumors 65816

  10. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Unlike it is for speech recognition, homophones won't be a problem. If you want to create a "new" document you'd probably have different brainwaves when thinking the word NEW than when thinking the words KNEW or GNU.

    But when it makes a mistake (or when you think what you didn't mean to think) the results are probably going to be a spectacular failure.
  11. Ttownbeast, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012

    macrumors 65816

  12. macrumors 603

  13. macrumors 68000


    Maybe it won't require you to speak in your head, just as you don't need to do it when trying to figure something out.

    I suppose, if the computer can understand the concept you're wanting to express, it could write the sentence by itself.

    Or, if it is too demanding for a computer, the fact that it has access to the concept you're thinking about would eliminate any homophone problems.
  14. Moderator emeritus


    Maybe that would be an okay implementation.

    Only be able to interpret via a limited dictionary would be more accurate, secure and less intrusive.

    A free flowing version would lead to too many issues.

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