Why I can't wait for scientists to read my mind

Scientists at University College, London release the results of a study in which they looked at neural activity and could tell exactly what someone was thinking. This comes not a moment too soon.

We stagger around for most of our lives desperately hoping that someone, somewhere will actually understand us.

Not in the "what the bloody hell is he saying?" kind of way. But in the "Oh, I totally realize why he just took his trousers off and did a handstand while singing the national anthem of the Congo" kind of way.

When you go around trying to explain yourself, it can be extremely tiring. Both for you and for the person who has to listen. Thankfully, scientists at University College, London, have taken significant steps in, well, mind-reading.

If I were to choose someone to read my mind I would hope for someone like Pink, Mila Kunis or, at a pinch, the great Italian author, Andrea Camilleri, to be able to see just what is inside my head.

But if I have to tolerate a scientist for just a short while, I suppose I can make myself look forward to it.

The University College experiment consisted of normal humans wandering around a virtual world, while the boffins bored into their hippocampus with a fMRI scanner. (You mean they didn't have one of these things in Guantanamo?)

The project leader, Eleanor Maguire, seemed a little astounded at just how easily the experiment went. She told the "Financial Times": "Surprisingly, just by looking at the brain data, we could predict exactly where they were in the virtual reality room."

Because I do not have the technology at hand, I can only guess that this man is thinking about marzipan. CC Carbon NYC

This appears to be the first time that it has been shown that memories are kept in very tidy compartments in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is very fond of drugs. Well, what I really mean to say is that it's the part of the brain that imagines future joys, remembers stuff and steers you from one nightmare to the next.

The experiment fills me with giant, tingling relief.

Far too often, people have decided I thought one thing when I thought something entirely different and, indeed, opposite. Yes, at times, their utter myopia, lack of incisiveness and sheer dearth of basic human sense drove me to a distraction from which not even my hippocampus could help me return.

Now, at least, I can hope for an independent scientific referee and factotum. One who lays bare the interpretation with just a brief squint at my hippocampus. One who can explain me without my having to ever explain myself. One who makes the very idea of a shrink entirely redundant. One who has Pink's cell phone number.

Now if this technology has been widely available before we might have been able to prevent Bernie Madoff, Jim Cramer and the new U2 album. Or at least to understand their existence.

That's all every one of us wants. Just to be understood. Oh, it's always such a giddy relief when science does something useful.

 

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