Wednesday, February 14, 2007

News and Blogs, Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Technocorrections to start off. GPS chips in kids' sneakers to help parents track them. Great cause, but this is the kind of precedent that gets policymakers to track non-kids the same way. Sure, we're already doing it to some, but cheap and easy mechanisms tempt the spread. The problem isn't that it's a bad idea. It's that it's an unthought idea with momentum and corporate salespeople. Which historically fuzz into areas we never predict but can't stop because of the rationales used to tie everything together of one piece. Maybe we should have that "ethics" meeting now. . . . Great link-filled post at Sex Crimes Blog showing the residency restriction movement in all its glory across the country. . . . One big problem we have in corr sent policy is we mainly hear about the failures of alternative sanctions, making the public think that’s all there are. Think Outside the Cage has a link to a nice CA story on a success story. . . . MT has gotten its first mental health court up and running. Those of you considering similar such things would do well to pay attention (h/t CrimProf Blog). . . . Lou Dobbs Alert. He's railing about our War on (Some) Drugs and making sense on costs and benefits and costs. . . . Technocorrections to end. That "ethics" meeting may be sooner than we think. Events are moving so fast that some researchers are saying its time for a conference before those events spin out of hand. Great quotes:

The same discoveries that could help the paralyzed use brain signals to steer a wheelchair or write on a computer might also be used to detect possible criminal intent, religious beliefs or other hidden thoughts, these neuroethicists say.

"The potential for misuse of this technology is profound," said Judy Illes, director of the Stanford University neuroethics program in California. "This is a truly urgent situation."


Barbara Sahakian, a clinical neuropsychologist at Cambridge University in Britain, saw possible misuse of this similar to the plot of Steven Spielberg's 2002 movie Minority Report, where police arrest people who psychics predict will commit a murder.

"We have to discuss how we want to use this technology and who should have access to it," she said.


Haynes estimated his research into unspoken intentions could yield simple applications within the next 5 to 10 years, such as reading a person's attitude to a company during a job interview or testing consumer preferences through "neuromarketing."

There are already companies trying to use brain scanners to build a more accurate lie detector, a technology that could dazzle judges and juries so much that they could mistake it for the final word in deciding a case, the researchers said.

Law enforcement officials might use the technology, which tracks heightened activity in areas linked to mental responses to outside stimuli, to screen people for pedophilia, racial bias, aggression or other undesirable tendencies, they said.

"If you're reading out something for neuromarketing or job interviews, or doing this against people's wills, that could be considered unethical," Haynes said.

You think?

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