Brain imaging and the transparency scenario

Sarah Richmond

in I Know What You're Thinking

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596492
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745669 | DOI:
Brain imaging and the transparency scenario

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This chapter focuses on the possible impact of neuroscientific technological development on one area of privacy in particular: the privacy that we enjoy in relation to the contents of our minds or, as it has come to be called, ‘mental privacy’. Many people are horrified by the thought that we might develop mindreading capability. An informal survey generated adjectives such as ‘appalling’, ‘invasive’, ‘intrusive’, and ‘terrifying’; it has been suggested that having one's thoughts exposed was akin to ‘mental rape’; allusions have been made to Big Brother and thought police. The chapter considers whether this immediate ‘gut’ reaction is justified. It shows that when the possibility of mental transparency is examined more carefully, and without prejudicial assumptions, it turns out to be less completely alarming than we think. It examines the potential impact of transparency in various situations, and finds that there might even be some ‘pros’, alongside the obvious ‘cons’.

Keywords: mental rape; Big Brother; thought police; mindreading; mental privacy; mental transparency

Chapter.  10598 words. 

Subjects: Neuroscience

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