Mind-reading systems could change air security

They certainly could. And Teleporters could change the Transportation industry.

This is an actual headline from Yahoo news. The mind boggles, and not because of the futuristic technology described:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100108/ap_on_re_us/us_airport_security_the_future

It seems to me that such technology would end up making innocent people nervous enough at the prospect of having their mind misread and/or their body language misinterpreted that this very nervousness will end up triggering a lot of false positives. This whole mind reading thing is still extremely nascent; scientists have been trying for years to get somewhere with it, and even after all this time we’re still only at a point where we can tell that a person is thinking of a square. Maybe. Could be a rectangle though, or maybe the word “square.” Or Huey Lewis’ “Hip To Be Square.”

If they can devise something that decisively and with an acceptably small margin of error tell a terrorist from someone who’s just nervous the TSA might see that large, spiky dildo in their carry-on, think it’s a bomb, and pull out for all the world to see, then maybe. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

Read the Truth Machine by James Halperin.


Fairly interesting novel about the impact upon society of the invention of a machine where all lies are immediately detected.

If a false positive means that the suspect is automatically thrown into a jail cell, then I agree with you. But if all it means is that a security officer politely asks him aside for a short chat, a computer background check and maybe a pat-down (which is how the Israeli aircraft security will handle things), then it’ll serve as a useful tool. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t do anything properly trained security personnel aren’t expected to do themselves with their own eyes and brain.

Aaand the new Dircetor of Homeland Secuirty is…Mentok the Mind Taker!

I like how they mention another possibility: lifting the ban on profiling. Riiiiight, in other words tell the terrorists exactly what you have to look like in order to be pulled out of line for questioning. Like an instruction manual on how to get through security. No profiling means the terrorists have no specific ability to disguise themselves in such a way as to avoid questioning.