1984 and Beyond – Science Fiction Moving Into Reality

by William Campbell Douglass II, MD by William Campbell Douglass II, MD


The Guardian reports that neuroscientists have determined how to look inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act. The new brain scans allow them to identify patterns of brain activity showing what a person plans to do in the near future. It is the first time scientists have succeeded in reading intentions in this way.

"It's like shining a torch around, looking for writing on a wall," said John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who led the study with researchers at University College London and Oxford University.

The researchers believe this could assist in interrogations of criminals and terrorists, and even bring us a “Minority Report” era (as portrayed in the Steven Spielberg science fiction film of that name), in which judgments are handed down before the law is broken based on the strength of an incriminating brain scan. Said professor Haynes, “We see the danger that this might become compulsory one day, but we have to be aware that if we prohibit it, we are also denying people who aren't going to commit any crime the possibility of proving their innocence.” Oh, Come on John-Dylan, do you think you're talking to a bunch of idiots, a platoon of street-cleaners? Can you prove something that is non-existent, a negative?

The reporter of this horror story from the Guardian newspaper is a sincere business and stock analyst, one of the best, in my opinion. He remarks:

"There is little question that this advance, coupled with the others I have recounted recently, will lead to major changes in how society operates. One crucial question is whether the rulers of society will exempt themselves or whether the technology will be equally applied to everyone.

"If the latter proves true, it will herald an era of unprecedented integrity and openness in government and business. If the former, it will probably become a tool for fascism in many societies. How a particular country handles this matter will be the watershed."

Sometimes I am appalled at the naivety of intelligent people. If we can trash the U.S. Constitution in a few generations, how are we going to stop this chimera of evil?

Our reporter warms to his subject: "We are sure to see the emergence of "truth centers" where people go to settle civil and criminal legal matters, and these may become popular in monitoring candidates for office, and elected officials as well, by popular demand.

Popular demand indeed, in our democracy-loving, equality-demanding, non-racist (on the surface) air-head society, there will be little opposition. Science will destroy itself – and the rest of us.

Here's the scenario: "NO, expert-witness, Professor Dylan, and Your Most Esteemed Honor, and ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I never thought that. I would never think of a thing like that. I love the President, and the fact that she is a black, Oriental, Jewish person with a Muslim family background isn't important to me. I love persons of blackness, Orientals, Jewish people and Muslims. I love everybody. But how can I prove it? Do you want me to kiss somebody – any body? What kind of sentence am I facing?"

The esteemed judge interrupts to answer the question: "We try to be fair. The scan says you are guilty of desiring to kill the President. You get an automatic 20 years at hard labor for that. But if the jury thinks you are innocent, or might be innocent, the sentence is reduced to 10 years. With proper electronic and pharmaceutical treatment, and surgery is offered for extreme cases, you could get out in only 5 years. How more fair than that can The State be? You should be happy you are not in England or Finland. They have done away with the court system altogether. A guilty verdict means automatic decapitation for a crime such as yours. The Scan-O-Mind instrument they use, called Brain Pick 84, always reviews the cases but it has never been wrong. Their equipment is a little more advanced than ours."

"And I am sure you will agree, it is better to have 10,000 innocents in jail than one dead president?"

"Yes, yes, of course, I agree entirely. The President protects us from terrorists, constitutional fanatics, smokers, meat-eaters and other low-life types. Let me repeat: I love the President."

The jury stood up and clapped; many had tears in their eyes. They declared me "probably innocent" and so I got only ten years. Then they turned in every direction, hugging each other, proud of their courageous decision.

Reset your calendar; 1984 is nigh.