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Can technology read your mind?

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By Mike Martin


Can technology read your mind? Probably not, although some computer scientists are betting that they can read your brainwaves, and thereby determine what you might be feeling. Researchers at MIT are developing a new technique which measures the signals that a body emits and reports back on our heart rate and breathing patterns. It works like an Electrocardiogram, but instead of having wires attached to our brain, the scientists are capturing the same information using WiFi technology on a device they call EQ-Radio.

Just like a wireless router the team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) believe that they can tell, from the signals you emit. Whether you are happy or sad, angry or overjoyed. The personal benefits of having such a device would certainly help our interpersonal relationships. Imagine if you knew that someone liked you, or even more if someone was secretly angry with you. You could plot your romantic approach or put your quick getaway plan into effect.

On a more practical or commercial level the EQ-Radio technology, which the research team says can make accurate emotional predictions almost 90 per cent of the time, could be an immediate best seller for advertisers or retailers. Imagine if a fast food restaurant knew who was hungry and walking past their store. They could flash an image on their outside window with a picture of a sandwich or ice cream. Who could resist? It would become a very potent weapon in any retailer’s arsenal. They don’t have to target everybody, just the people who might really want their product or service.

This is another way that technology is shaping our future. If you want to be part of that future, then math and science will be crucial. Someone is going to make a lot of money using this new technology. If you want that person to be you, then you better get back to that math homework.