How Technology May Soon "Read" Your Mind

<b>60 Minutes:</b> Incredible Research Lets Scientists Get A Glimpse At Your Thoughts

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"I always tell my students that there is no science fiction anymore. All the science fiction I read in high school, we're doing," Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University in Atlanta, told Stahl.

To Wolpe, the ability to read our thoughts and intentions this way is revolutionary. "Throughout history, we could never actually coerce someone to reveal information. Torture doesn't work that well, persuasion doesn't work that well. The right to keep one's thoughts locked up in their brain is amongst the most fundamental rights of being human."

"You're saying that if someone can read my intentions, we have to talk about who might in the future be able to do that?" Stahl asked.

"Absolutely," he replied. "Whether we're going to let the state do it or whether we're going to let me do it. I have two teenage daughters. I come home one day and my car is dented and both of them say they didn't do it. Am I going to be allowed to drag them off to the local brain imaging lie detection company and get them put in a scanner? We don't know."

But before we've even started the debate, there are two companies already offering lie detection services using brain scans, one with the catchy name "No Lie MRI." But our experts cautioned that the technique is still unproven.

In the meantime, Haynes is working on something he thinks may be even more effective: reading out from your brain exactly where you've been. Haynes showed Stahl an experiment he created out of a video game.

He had Stahl navigate through a series of rooms in different virtual reality houses.

"Now I would put you in a scanner and I would show you some of these scenes that you've seen and some scenes that you haven't seen," he told her.

Stahl recognized the bar. "And right at this moment, we would be able to tell from your brain activity that you've already seen this environment before," Haynes explained.

"And so, this is a potential tool…for the police…in the case of break-ins?" Stahl asked.

"You might be able to tell if someone's been in an al Qaeda training camp before," Haynes replied.

Haynes said while U.S. national security agencies had not been in touch with him, the Germans had.

"So there are people who are considering these kinds of possibilities," Stahl commented.

And some are using them. In India last summer, a woman was convicted of murder after an EEG of her brain allegedly revealed that she was familiar with the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of her ex-fiancé.