Hacking the Mind

Bring on the technocracy…

Intrusive Brain Reading Surveillance Technology: Hacking the Mind

“We need a program of psychosurgery for political control of our society. The purpose is physical control of the mind. Everyone who deviates from the given norm can be surgically mutilated.

The individual may think that the most important reality is his own existence, but this is only his personal point of view. This lacks historical perspective. Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electronically control the brain. Someday armies and generals will be controlled by electric stimulation of the brain.

Dr José Delgado. Director of Neuropsychiatry, Yale University Medical School Congressional Record, No. 26, Vol. 118 February 24, 1974.

The Guardian newspaper, that defender of truth in the United Kingdom, published an article by the Science Correspondent, Ian Sample, on 9 February 2007 entitled:

‘The Brain Scan that can read people’s intentions’, with the sub-heading: ‘Call for ethical debate over possible use of new technology in interrogation”.

“Using the scanner, we could look around the brain for this information and read out something that from the outside there’s no way you could possibly tell is in there. It’s like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall”, the scientists were reported as saying.

At the same time, London’s Science Museum was holding an exhibition entitled ‘Neurobotics: The Future of Thinking’. This venue had been chosen for the launch in October 2006 of the news that human thoughts could be read using a scanner. Dr Geraint Rees’ smiling face could be seen in a photograph at the Neurobotics website, under the heading “The Mind Reader”. Dr Rees is one of the scientists who have apparently cracked the problem which has preoccupied philosophers and scientists since before Plato: they had made entry into the conscious mind. Such a reversal of human historical evolution, announced in such a pedestrian fashion, makes one wonder what factors have been in play, and what omissions made, in getting together this show, at once banal and extraordinary. The announcement arrives as if out of a vacuum. The neuroscientist – modern-style hunter-gatherer of information and darling of the “Need to Know” policies of modern government – does little to explain how he achieved this goal of entering the conscious mind, nor does he put his work into any historical context. Instead, we are asked in the Science Museum’s programme notes:

How would you feel if someone could read your innermost thoughts? Geraint Rees of UCL says he can. By using brain-imaging technology he’s beginning to decode thought and explore the difference between the conscious and unconscious mind. But how far will it go? And shouldn’t your thoughts remain your personal business?

If Dr Rees has decoded the mind sufficiently for such an announcement to be made in an exhibition devoted to it, presumably somewhere is the mind which has been, and is continuing to be, decoded. He is not merely continuing his experiments using functional magnetic resolution scanning (fMRI) in the way neuroscientists have been observing their subjects under scanning devices for years, asking them to explain what they feel or think while the scientists watch to see which area lights up, and what the cerebral flow in the brain indicates for various brain areas. Dr Rees is decoding the mind in terms of conscious and unconscious processes. For that, one must have accessed consciousness itself. Whose consciousness? Where is the owner of that consciousness – and unconsciousness? How did he/she feel? Why not ask them to tell us how it feels, instead of asking us.

Read the rest of the article here.

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