In a German research facility, researcher John-Dylan Haynes is reading the minds of volunteers with an MRI machine. He is scanning their brains while they make simple decisions, such as whether or not to add or subtract two numbers. The goal is to be able to figure out what decision they are going to make BEFORE they make it.

Scientists are already able to predict people’s physical actions, but measuring minute muscle twitches. Now they?re trying to go a step further and get into the decision process that starts those muscles moving in the first place.

CNN quotes psychiatrist Paul Wolpe (who is not connected to the study) as saying, “The fact that we can determine what intention a person is holding in their mind pushes the level of our understanding of subjective thought to a whole new level.”

The UK plans to create a national DNA database in order to track people with a predispositon for violence. The question that then arises is: should we lock these people up ahead of time, BEFORE they commit a crime? Wolpe says, “We need to start thinking about how far we are going to allow these technologies to be used.”

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