Imagine a world of streets lined with video cameras that alert authorities to any suspicious activity. A world where police officers can read the minds of potential criminals and arrest them before they commit any crimes. A world in which a suspect who lies under questioning gets nabbed immediately because his brain has given him away.
Though that may sound a lot like the plot of the 2002 movie "Minority Report," starring Tom Cruise and based on a Philip K. Dick novel, I'm not talking about science fiction here; it turns out we're not so far away from that world. But does it sound like a very safe place, or a very scary one?
It's a question I think we should be asking as the federal government invests millions of dollars in emerging technology aimed at detecting and decoding brain activity. [...]
Will this be enough evidence for an arrest? Can it be used to convict a person of intent to commit a crime? [...]
These are just some of the questions we must ask as we balance scientific advances and the promise of enhanced safety against a loss of liberty. And we must do it now, while our voices still matter. In a world where private thoughts are no longer private, what will our protections be? ...(more)
That story follows one from yesterday's WaPo that the Bush admin is set to launch a new domestic spy program, "rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority."
I don't think I'll ever hear Alan Parsons' Eye in the Sky (YouTube) the same way again.