Today we’ll discuss about mind-reading and what are the possibilities of current science, technology, and artificial intelligence.
The question asked in this article is Will Mind Reading Ever Be Possible? Mind reading is already possible. Technologies have been created that are increasingly accurate, so-much-so that major technology companies are already researching devices that will turn Mind Reading into an everyday activity. Mind reading is not just some vague concept used in Science Fiction. It is here now, as science fact.
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According to Psychology Today magazine, Humans cannot actually read the minds of others without scientific aids, but most humans do have the ability to create a mental model of the mind of someone they know well so that they can intuit people’s thoughts and feelings, by reading clues given in words, emotions and in people’s body language.
However, this is limited and unreliable, and there are people undertaking studies to take Mind Reading much further.
University of Washington, 2015
A recent article in the Guardian Newspaper reports on a study published in September 2015 on Brain to Brain interfaces (you can read the original study here).
The study was carried out by Washington University and is the most promising study so far.
In this study, there were five pairs of volunteers, men, and women aged between 19 and 39.
One of the pair was chosen as a respondent who selected an item from a list.
The second volunteer was an Inquirer who tried to guess the object by asking “Yes or No” questions.
The two volunteers were placed in rooms that were around a mile apart.
After a question was selected it was shown on the Respondents computer screen.
The Respondent was given just two seconds to look t the question and one second to answer. To answer they looked at one of two flashing lights labeled “Yes of No.”
The brain waves of the Respondent were intercepted by a brain wave reading machine and sent to the Inquirer, the enquirer had a magnetic coil behind their head that stimulated the Inquirers visual cortex.
When the respondent gave a yes answer they saw a flash, but when the answer was no they saw nothing.
The results were that in 72% of the tests the Inquirer got it right.
However, researchers are claiming that it is the first successful implementation of a non-invasive Brain to Brain interface.
Carnegie Mellon University/MIT
Research going on in a far more practical system allows software connected to a face-mounted device to read thoughts and turn them into text.
The facemask is connected to a machine learning device that picks up thoughts in a person’s mind and matches them to words or pictures.
This device is currently showing results that are 92% accurate after the subject has “trained” the device over 15 minutes.
What in fact the device is doing is not reading the actual thoughts but the invisible instructions that are sent to the face to speak the words, even though no speech takes place.
The obvious problem with the device is that nobody is going to walk around with the face reading mask on, they would look ridiculous, but it could be lined up to a text to speech application and by thought alone, the device could speak, so it is a massive breakthrough.
The owners of Facebook are even in on the act and Facebook’s secret building 8 is working on a way for users to send Facebook Messenger messages by thought alone.
The first application will be to assist people suffering from paralysis who are currently “Locked in” to communicate and actually speak through this device.
The more general application will soon follow on the heels of this.
Students at the University of California San Francisco are working with Facebook on this research and have built an algorithm that can read brain activity and turn it into words in real-time!
To further the development of mind reading, Facebook also recently purchased a company “CTRL-Labs” that makes mind-reading technology.
The company makes a wristband that they say decodes electrical signals from the brain.
They say that by wearing this wristband that users will be able to control a computer using thoughts.
Microsoft has got so far in their work on this that they were granted two patents for a device that can “change the state of a computer or applications, through brain activity.”
This potentially could be used for controlling volume on a computer
Mind Reading Technology Already Exists
We can see from the above research that Mind Reading technology has arrived in the laboratory already.
We can read minds in controlled conditions, and to a limited extent.
But the everyday application will be the next stage.
We can see that Facebook and Microsoft are already developing practical applications and when these are finally launched, we will have the first practical applications and that will just be the start.
As I sit here typing this article, I can imagine a day when I just stare at the computer screen and think about what I want to write and it will appear on the screen in front of me.
Can you imagine using Facebook Messenger to have a conversation with someone, if all we have to do is think? Complete conversations where not a single word is spoken.
Yes, at the moment, most of this technology would not be practical to wear when away from the computer, nobody is going to walk around looking like a cyberman, but as with most technology, once it is introduced it does not take it long before it is miniaturized.
Science Fiction Made Real
Elon Musk owns a company called Neuralink that is developing tiny strands that can be implanted in the human brain and that will allow the brain to control your smartphone and computer purely by thought.
This may be the beginning of a portable device.
The company says that they will begin tests on human beings later this year.
Mind Reading Today
You may have seen professional mind readers and mentalists performing various tricks on TV or stage.
Of course, until we have accessible technology in place, mind readers need to rely on deception and psychology.
If this is something you’d like to learn, I can recommend you a perfect Mind Reading Online Course that I used as well to look like I can read the minds of other people.
So yes, this is only “fake” mind-reading that is not based on any technology, but it’s something you can learn today to create an illusion that mind reading is possible.
It is just amazing what is happening today, how many companies are working on this and it will not be very long before you look on Amazon or your local electrical store and can buy mind-reading devices.