Coates, James, "Just Think! A Mind-Reading Computer"

From Clockworks2
Jump to navigationJump to search

Coates, James. "Just Think! A Mind-Reading Computer [initial capitals supplied]." Chicago Tribune 18 March 1993: 5.1, 13.

On the research of Emmanuel Donchin, Head of the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Donchin "wired undergraduates to an electroencephalograph connected to a mini-computer and then asked them to watch a chart with the letters of the [English] alphabet while he ran through a big computer the enormously complex readings of brain waves picked up by the machine. . . . By noting each time the P-300 spike registered [indicating the chosen letter], the computer operators were able to reproduce messages made up in the volunteers' heads." The practical result of this work is "what amounted to a thought-controlled typewriter," but further research by Fujitsu Corp. and others are moving toward "a thought-input device" Fujitsu computers (13). Specifically comments on use of such ideas in the film Foxfire (19XX); note also real-world development of SQUID: Superconducting Quantum Interference Device," a highly sensitive way to monitor brainwaves. See under Fiction, L. Niven and J. Pournelle's Oath of Fealty (which has a computer-human mind link); note William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" (1981), coll. Burning Chrome: the story concerns "Squids" ("Superconducting quantum interference detectors" [9]).