The brain scan that read people’s intentions

Came across this article on the Guardian online.

A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person’s brain and read their intentions before they act

When I read the headline the first thought that sprung to mind was 1984 closely followed by Minority Report. It reveals how far neuroscience is progressing but an urgent debate is needed on the ethical issues surrounding such technologies.

The idea of being able to control a computer with your mind, or a wheelchair on the face of it sounds quite appealing and advocates of this technology argue that it could have many such benefits.

Detractors maintain that such technology could be used to create an Orwellian style society. This kind of technology has the potential to change society, and we need to understand and encourage debate around its ethical use:

“Do we want to become a ‘Minority Report’ society where we’re preventing crimes that might not happen? For some of these techniques, it’s just a matter of time. It is just another new technology that society has to come to terms with and use for the good, but we should discuss and debate it now because what we don’t want is for it to leak into use in court willy nilly without people having thought about the consequences” Barbara Sahakian,Professor Neuro-Psychology at Cambridge

“These techniques are emerging and we need an ethical debate about the implications, so that one day we’re not surprised and overwhelmed and caught on the wrong foot by what they can do. These things are going to come to us in the next few years and we should really be prepared,” Professor John Dylan-Haynes

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