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Is it possible to read someone's mind?

maxwell mmmaxwell at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 7 02:31:45 EST 2001

SA <nospam at nospam.net> wrote in message news:nospam-F8A8B1.21015606062001 at lsnewsr1.we.mediaone.net...
> In article <9fjpb7$4hrjm$1 at ID-81739.news.dfncis.de>,
>  "maxwell" <mmmaxwell at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > Brian <zhil at online.no> wrote in message
> > news:7XbT6.6787$lM3.133493 at news1.oke.nextra.no...
> > > "yan king yin" <y.k.y(at)lycos(dot)com> skrev i melding
> > > news:9fgrg0$jht2 at imsp212.netvigator.com...
> > <big snip>
> >  but I have one question.
> > > Extended vision from the ultra-violet to the infra-red zone.
> > > Is it possible to "train" the brain to adapt to such vision by
> > "squeezing" the Extended visual zone into what we have now (normal visual zone) ?
> > 
> > I haven't the foggiest notion what this "Extended" vision you've dreamed
> > about is supposed to be.
> > The constraint is at the level of the retina, specifically, at the level
> > of absorption of pigments, i.e., of the rhodopsin molecules.
> > 
> > Meanwhile, there have been attempts to modify the absorption
> > characteristics of visual pigments.
> > ...a recent paper:
> > http://fly.hiwaay.net/~pspoole/echres.html#newsarticles
> > 
> > > I suspect there would be modifications to such a 'crackpot' idea.
> > 
> > A fair start would be disposal.
> > 
> > > Basically there is no limits to what could be done.
> > 
> > As long as you need not root your ideas in actual structures, sure !
> > 
> > > Just my thoughts...
> > > Sincerely,
> > > Brian
> > 
> > Have fun !
> > 
> > -maxwell
> > 
> I met a guy at an EEG (Sleep) lab who claimed he could read people's 
> minds using it. But the PI told me the guy has schizophrenia and they 
> just let him work there as part of a back-to-work program. I thought the 
> guy was cool.

I've known lots of cool schizophrenics-- actually, if I consider *only* those
schizophrenics who are _not_ made miserable by their variant of the syndrome,
and also admit that schizophenic experience is not totally orthogonal to my
ostensibly normal experience, I'd say that 'coolness' is more often a quality
of some schizophrenics than of many 'normals.' 
Hmmm. Nearly all of the administration people on campus are non-cool, but
they are excellent paper-pushers.

Okay- back on topic. Polysomnographic recordings are a form of limited channel EEG,
run along with eye-movement and muscle tone recording. 

If we had traces from several thousand inserted electrodes (let alone coarse spatial resolution surface ones), plus some exceptionally well-developed supercomputer parallel
processing programs, we *might* be able to reliably confirm the reoccurence of a previously-reported thought, but only on an individual basis-- there is not the least notion that a given pattern
would be found in another person having the 'same thought.'
Even on 'simple' perceptual levels, not only do we see inter-individual neural activity patterning differences, but the phenomenological question looms large-- do two persons actually 'see' the same color red when they look at the same apple?

Now we get to a more Turing-Godel related question.
If we do in fact construct a supercomputer, with enough channel capacity to sort
out the neural activity of a conscious brain, would the computer itself require such
hypercomplex emergent architecture as to itself assume a conscious state?
If so, then could we claim to be actually monitoring the thoughts of a brain's electrical
activity in such manner as to be free of the confounds of the computer's own thought?
Would a computer unable to 'think consciously' have the ability to actually comprehend

Thinking about thinking-- great good stuff, but the experimental designs are still a looonng
way off, alas. We haven't even figured out how a brain 'sees' a simple object-- not in a way that
reliably defines neural activity in respect to *percept.*
Thought itself-- to 'read minds'?

Hoo, boy-- yes, being schizophrenic might be a decided advantage--
others are less likely to demand that one substantiate notions, of what
other other's are thinking.  


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