Can Computers Read Your Mind?


Siri, could you start the video? We’re already rolling? How did you… Hey everybody, welcome to BrainStuff. I’m
Ben. And let’s start with a related question: How did you find this video? If you are on
YouTube, then odds are it may have popped up as a suggested video based on something
you watched earlier. We’re used to that nowadays. We’re used to computers using
our past input as a predictor of future action. But today’s question is, what if computers
could read your mind? This is the strange part, right? Because the
answer is they already can, sort of. It just depends on what we mean when we say ‘read
one’s mind.’ We’re roughly talking about two different categories of things. One is
the idea of predictive behavior. This could be something as simple as autofill when you’re
typing in text or you’re searching on a computer. Because what it’s doing is it’s
remembering the last time you typed that series of inputs, and it’s using that as a basis
to predict your intentions this time. But let’s talk about the second thing. The
idea that an algorithm – a machine of some sort – could know what you want before you
want it, or know instantaneously what’s going on in your head. How close are we? Depending on how you feel
about the future, we’re either amazingly close, or terrifyingly close – on a precipice. In 2007, a study at the Max Planck Institute
in Germany demonstrated this concept. They took a number of patients, and they attached
electrodes to them, and they gave them fMRI to see what’s happening where in their brain,
and see if they could correlate it to a cognitive action. Specifically, they went to the patients
and they said, ‘We’re going to give you two sets of numbers. And before we give you
these two sets of numbers, what we would like you to do is spend a few seconds thinking
about whether you want to add them together or subtract them.’ And after this pause,
they would show them the numbers. It was clever of the scientists to do this
because they were able to isolate and differentiate between two separate cognitive processes.
First, the process of an intention to perform a future action. And then, the process of
that action itself – in this case, basic arithmetic. And what they found was that, as they were
feeding this information about brain activity and about the mathematical performance into
the software and algorithms, they were able to predict the intention of the patient with
70% accuracy. And granted, 70% accuracy is barely a passing grade if you’re in high
school. But in the bleeding edge of science, it’s quite impressive. And research continues today. A 2015 study
in Albany by a fellow named Peter Brunner took us to a new horizon with this concept.
They were able to create the first brain-to-text interface between a computer and a human mind. They cut these people’s skulls open, and
they attached electrodes directly to their brains. And then, they had these patients
read stuff aloud. So, they would read things like The Gettysburg Address, a children’s
story, maybe a JFK address. After the baseline had been established – after these patients
had read this stuff aloud – they read silently. Based on this earlier input, the algorithm
(the software) was able to translate the brain’s activity directly into text. There are a couple of drawbacks with this,
of course. Number one being that you have to have your head split open. Which I still
think is pretty gross. And number two, of course, which is also important, being that
the software’s lexicon (its vocabulary) leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t know
every word, so there are some things it just can’t translate. It is enormously difficult to explore all
the possible implications of a direct link between a computer and a human mind. Let’s
consider the massive benefits this could have for people with certain neurological problems,
or with physical impairments. Let’s also consider the possibility for predictive behavior
of crime. Is it possible, for instance, that you and I could end up living in a Minority
Report style future, wherein our actions – good and bad – can be predicted with such a degree
of fidelity that we can be arrested before those actions take place? Or indeed, before
we are consciously aware that we would perform those actions? While this sort of future is not inevitable
yet, it is increasingly plausible with each coming year. So what do you think? Should we access direct
computer-to-brain interfaces? Do you want to live in a world where a computer could
read your mind – whether for good or for ill? And as always, stay tuned for more BrainStuff.

60 thoughts on “Can Computers Read Your Mind?

  1. Wait. No one is going to bring up the fact that they cut people's skulls open to try this out? Which maniacs would agree to something like that?

  2. Watching this video made me remember an anime named Psycho-Pass where the government deployed a system called "The Sibyl System" which can determine the threat level of people by examining their mental state for signs of criminal intent

  3. Minority Report.. seriously? I mean, I guess if that were to actually happen.. it'd disprove freewill. I don't think that will happen. I don't mean the freewill that people associate with a soul or some other immaterial creation of the brain.. but a physical, biological function of the brain. Which is scary to think about too cause that means freewill can be tampered with.. but I don't see that happening either.. and it'd have to happen for Minority Report to happen.

  4. isn't this happening perfectly right now? Steven hawking cannot speak. he talks through a computer which gets the info about what he wants to say from his brain.

  5. I like this idea for the disabled but not for arresting people before they've committed those actions because first of all, I think it's unfair to arrest someone for a crime they've done and also because I think many of us have some natural desire to sin in some way or another. Plus, a million different circumstances could affect the way an action turns out so what if the person never even committed the crime anyway? It's hugely debatable.

  6. Technology is 90% made out of people being lazy or not believing themselves I think that this is a huge problem we need to all come together as humanity and take a stand and to those with disability's i believe there is a greater cure everyone has a different answer to their problems so one at a time just smile and keep the right mindset life will reward you. I am young and this will be the generation i live in I just want everyone to know how much Peace they really have left i hope this is a helpful message.This is all my opinion so no need to hate. <3 Don't Give Up People ! Great video by the way.

  7. the stupidest the people are the easiest the read their mind… take a look at the first 1 min of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k7jeQQdqPA you will understand what i mean

  8. I don't know what my cat is thinking but she only want to eat dog foods. Can a computer read cats mind too or no.

  9. YES, maybe not computers, but the entities behind them. Research Cyberkenisis, CERN, portals, rh negatives, electricity, towers, gangstalking, targeted individuals. Psych ops, and see what you find & how they all correlate.

  10. This tech is already here real mind reading on the fly used by governments and third party combined with gang stalking to destroy peoples lives, what there doing here is getting the public acustomed to this tech slowly.The people they use are real scumbags sadists that torture and kill people.Want to know more google mind control machines patents and youtube mind control and electronic harassment voice to skull psytronics targetted individuals . Its real people and it is horrific people are getting tortured to death with this stuff.

  11. Hello.. My phone is being hacked, they are all abke to watch me through the lamp or light, they can listen what I am saying and now they are also able to read my mind, all my thoughts and the picture I imagine in my head… Tell me what should I do to stop this crazzynes?

  12. It is inhuman & this technology can be misused also , it is completely against right to privacy. Innocent people may be trapped in this technology & their life may be in trouble also. It is CRIME of TECHNOLOGY. Scientists are most inhuman people they have made nuclear weapon also.

  13. This technology is way more advanced now than you know. Targeted people are at the receiving end of this. It's military and private defence contractors that use this stuff. Check out leakd documents at Washington state fusion center. It's real folks.

  14. Twice in the last week YouTube recommended me videos about something that I was only thinking about. The first one was a video about possible combinations for a particular phone lock screen that I don't even use (I would have thought about it because my friend uses it on their phone). The next time was when I was thinking about HL2 (hl2 was just suggested on the word suggestion thing, which proves that computers literally read minds). The video was the first thing to come up when I opened the app too. I am really beginning to think that phones already have this technology and can do it wirelessly. Nothing is private anymore.

  15. We talk about certain subjects at work and a day or two later youtube will recommend videos on what we were talking about. The crazy part is they make us leave our phones in our locker so their's no way it could of heard what we were talking about.
    Can someone explain how youtube does this.

  16. if they can read your words that you are thinking over they cannot read your motives for thinking things over only God can do that.

  17. YouTube does it on the daily for me. Very creepy but it reminds me every time it happens that is can also be used for good!

  18. I know they're reading our minds already I cant tell you how many times my ads have been exact things I was thinking about with 0 input to my machines whatsoever

  19. Well I am f*cking stunned about this video. It is informative sir, so thank you for that. But I am totally stunned but your easy kind of enthousiasme about this stuff. Knowing what somebody thinks is one of the last places of privacy and if the CIA can know what somebody thinks and applies this, or the police, then were are officially in 1984.

    I think this technology is a great great danger for our future. You speak about interesting possibilities? What are they? That we don't have to push a f*cking button anymore? Are we that lazy now?

    If I look at with what happyness you present this, I, as a 37 year old male, am very worried about the future, because I am stunned that you do not seem to grasped the '1984' danger here, as the head was always one of the last privacy bastions, just like your home. And only in a big, big terrorist treath, the police could invade your home.

    But thought control or tought tapping as this is…

    My conclusion is, if humans won't kill ourselfd with the climate are wars, we will f*ck up the human race witch shit like this, or gene technology or whatever, with is all proof of totally useless stuff.

    Why dont we do something about the real problems of the world instead of this shit?

  20. I can't wait to play some video games in like 2036 when you don't need a mouse and keyboard anymore. I'll also going to play some type racer to see how fast I can read or think words

  21. This kind of thing tech could be good for population control. Instead of mass genocide looking like an accident, the people at area 51 or whoever controls the whole thing are just going to change our minds I into making less babies. If it's even possible to change minds

  22. I literally saw a meme about orcas eating mooses on a random meme app an hour ago, decided to look it up, got to "orca" before orca eats moose popped up

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