Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Reading minds - scientists get closer

You may have seen the movie Minority Report - think about the special people that the police used to read their minds about past experiences and memories. With today's science closing in on witnessing memories and reading the minds of mice, maybe we are not so far away from this becoming a reality - and you won't need special powers.

Scientific American says: Researchers are closing in on the rules that the brain uses to lay down memories. Discovery of this memory code could lead to the design of smarter computers and robots and even to new ways to peer into the human mind. For decades, neuroscientists have attempted to unravel how the brain makes memories. Now, by combining a set of novel experiments with powerful mathematical analyses and an ability to record simultaneously the activity of more than 200 neurons in awake mice researchers have the basic mechanism the brain uses to draw vital information from experiences and turn that information into memories.

Okay so far this sounds fine. Now think about this: Such understanding could allow investigators to develop more seamless brain-machine interfaces, design a whole new generation of smart computers and robots, and perhaps even assemble a codebook of the mind that would make it possible to decipher--by monitoring neural activity--what someone remembers and thinks.
Read more at Scientific American.