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July 30, 2011

Reading Your Mind


Have you ever wondered what the world will be like when someone can read your mind? If so, maybe you should pay attention to this paper. As you well know, technology is changing in such a rapid pace, you can?t buy a computer without a newer one coming out before you even get it home. The same goes for neuroscience.

There is a lot going on in the neuroscience community right now. One major area is the mapping of minds and memories. Henry T. Greely outlines these studies in a paper entitled Neuroethics: The Neuroscience Revolution, Ethics, and the Law. In the paper, Greely discusses the various ways in which mind mapping will affect the world. Though currently mapping is being used to advance the way in which doctors predict diseases in patients, mapping can lead to predicting behaviors in the future. This will be revolutionary to many areas. As Greely points out, the way criminals are convicted, businesses are run, and how students are tested will all be affected by mind mapping.

On a criminal level, the author does an outstanding job describing the history of predictive measures and the law; Lie detection being the most prominent. In comparison to future techniques, he makes the polygraph tests look primitive and crude. It would have strengthened the paper if more methods were introduced in mapping and imaging. Greely seems to focus on the history and the implications of these methods,. Additionally, he makes the material accessible to the average person without frightening them into thinking the future is the plot of the movie ?The Minority Report?. The article offers possible ways that crimes will be predicted in people, as well as how trials will be held regarding mind and memory mapping.

In schools, long gone will be major tests like the SAT and the MCAT. Brain imaging will go a long way into measuring the aptitude of a student?s mind without having to put a pencil to paper. These methods sound to be decades away, but Greely describes them in a realistic manner, making the author?s take on the future more believable.

Finally, Greely points out that with any new area of study, someone is going to try to make money off of it. These prediction methods are a dream for marketers who may be able to predict the exact reaction a product will get, or the best way to appeal to a specific market. Again, this future seems very possible in the way that Greely describes. I have no doubts that the in the creation of new prediction methods, new ways to buy and sell will emerge in the United States and the rest of the world.
After finishing reading this article, as a prospective neuroscientist I was amazed at all of the possibilities that I haven?t even considered that are covered. As a citizen I was just as amazed. With Greely?s prediction of the way that prediction will affect the world, I strongly believe that the world will change as long as neuroscience advances. I encourage everyone to follow these developments as they will certainly be a part of our world. Maybe sooner than we think.
Posted by      Anthony F. at 12:40 PM MDT

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