Sunday, June 28, 2009

CBS 60 Minutes: Mind reading, telepathy, and Internet gambling hacks


Tonight, June 28, Lesley Stahl reported on “mind reading” on CBS 60 Minutes.


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The report presented experiments that mapped every concept (like “hammer” “house”) with a point-set with in the brain, so reliably among subjects that a computer could deduce from an MRI which objects a subject had seen.

Whereas the Internet has obviously provided challenges to privacy unimagined twenty years ago, mind reading could take this to a new level. New lie detector tests (“No Lie MRI”) could come on line, but various invisible scanning tools (such as laser scans of people’s brains at airport security) could come into use.

There will certainly occur constitutional issues as to whether “mind reading” technology breaches 5th Amendment protections against self-incrimination. We already know that DNA samples do not.

I have a science fiction script where people use telepathy, stimulated by certain bodily rituals, as instant communication instead of email, on another planet. Also, the telepathy, since it is “information”, is allowed to violate the speed of light law.

It might be possible for people to control the actions of a computer with thought, but this would be a most dangerous opportunity. Imagine if a programmer could update production files with telepathy and get around security access.

Ideas about telepathy comport with “New Age” (“witchcraft”) ideas that people create realities for themselves with their thoughts.

60 Minutes tonight also carried a big story about creating at Internet poker. Since this is largely illegal in the US by federal law (see Wall Street Journal story by Corey Boles and Jeff Bater, Nov. 13, 2008, here), most online betting is run by offshore servers, especially on one particular Indian reservation in Quebec. The story traced how an “employee” hacked into the server so that he could see the poker hands.

I used to have a site called “hppub.com” (for “High Productivity Publishing”). I gave up that name in 2005 when I folded it into doaskdotell.com, but then hppub.com got picked up by an offshore gaming site. Then that folded and now it is a Danish site about Internet speech and culture with ideas similar to what I had on my hppub.com site. Very interesting, at least for me.

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