Apparently this is Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
Hadfield went to high school down the street from where I live. I can assure you that is Chris Hadfield.
If only he had your singing voice, Bob.
P.s. These people have way too much time on their hands.
It was a cool song when it came our … Who would have thought this would be happening in <~ 40 yrs ?
Off-topic, so I’ll stick it here. This seems like an interesting issue: if, in the future, we can detect propensities for criminality in individuals through brain scans, should the state do anything about it? What about convicted criminals about to be released?
Let’s suppose that in principle there exists a particular brain state whereby a violent crime X will 100% be committed. If the brain state is M, then that person will 100% murder someone, for example. In other words, brain states are perfect predictors of what will happen.
OK, so now suppose that my brain is scanned. The results show a state that the researcher knows I will commit crime X at some future time T. Assume that both myself and the reseacher just learned about this about me. Neither of us knew what my brain state looked like prior (obviously).
Do you see the problem? Both the researcher and I just learned about the outcome of my brain scan experiment. That will of course alter my brain (as well as the researcher’s) in an unpredictable way. For before the experiment, it was uncertain whether my brain will show state X, or some other state. We could not know before. Once the experiment is run, the experiment itself (well, technically, the learning of the results of the experiment) will alter my brain. I no longer have the same brain “state” as I did prior to the experiment.
And please note that this is not just some trivial change to my brain, such as learning the color of that bird that flew by, or learning of a sound that occurred outside my window that suggests a car drove by. No, this change to my brain concerns the very experiment itself that purports to show I will commit crime X in the future.
If I learn that a particular brain state is 100% associated with crime X, then we have a problem for the pre-crime researchers. For my learning of that brain state will no longer make that brain state applicable to my future actions, because now my brain state is “Brain state associated with learning of the initial crime associated brain state.”
As soon as I learn my brain state, my brain changes. Even if there is in principle a 100% causal relation between the initial brain state and crime X, it doesn’t apply to me, or, more accurately, it no longer applies to me. For my brain is no longer that state precisely because I learned of it!
I think this conclusion (which is purely speculative) has common sense. For if you told me that my brain state right now at this moment is 100% associated with committing a violent crime, then by telling me that, and me learning of that, you have just changed my brain state, and so the brain state associated with crime no longer applies.
A likely response to this is OK, given we accept all that, who ever said the potential criminal has to learn of any of this? Why can’t we simply not tell the person anything, so that the brain state associated with crime still applies? Well, that has some merit I suppose, but then I think the same core problem remains. For as soon as armed people go to his house and arrest him, and throw him in jail, his brain state will change here too, and it’s possible he’ll infer from his arrest that his brain was of a particular state that his kidnappers believe (rightly or wrongly) to be associated with crime X.
Well I basically agree with this MF, that changes in the mind will have hard to predict consequences that will make a hash of any of this kind of prediction, but the logic really isn’t quite airtight. You could still be a certain killer after learning you are, and so on. There is the possibility that the changes in brain state do not affect the prediction.
To cite an example bruited about here, your brain state is associated with dying, 100%. In the long run we are all dead. Changing your brain state won’t affect that prediction.
But as I say, I think there are too many feedbacks for anything like this kind of 100% predictability to be possible.
“You could still be a certain killer after learning you are, and so on.”
You mean after learning you have a brain state associated with a propensity to killing others. You aren’t a killer unless you actually kill people.
So I think to be more accurate, and I get your point here, that you could still choose to kill people even after learning you have a brain state that is associated with killing.
But then would your killing people be caused by that prior brain state, or the new one (for example if someone is told their brains are associated with killing, and that someone may believe they “are” a killer, where before they did not, and so they may think there’s no point in trying not to be a killer)?
In other words, there is no way to connect someone’s past brain states to their current behavior, when they commit actual crimes, because by the time you (and they) learn of their brain state, their brain will have already changed.
So did the person kill in part because you told them they have a killer’s mind, or would they have killed regardless?
“To cite an example bruited about here, your brain state is associated with dying, 100%. In the long run we are all dead. Changing your brain state won’t affect that prediction.”
Sure, but death isn’t a human action. It isn’t a choice. We are all going to die not because we choose to die, but because our body will eventually break down.
When it comes to criminal activity, these are actions (obviously). These events are of a different logical category as dying.
“But as I say, I think there are too many feedbacks for anything like this kind of 100% predictability to be possible.”
I think even if a particular activity could be 100% predictable on the basis of a particular brain state, the problem is whether such a brain state could even exist in anyone’s heads, given that everyone knows about that hypothetical brain state and thus are holding different brain states from that hypothetical state.
As soon as you learn of something, you’ve changed. If you learn of a brain state, that brain state can never exist, because what exists in the present is that brain state plus knowing that brain state. Which equals some other brain state.
A person informed of his scan is thereafter subjected to the ‘observer effect’ about his own brain scan. If the goal were to have “pure” uncontaminated data value (let alone any predictability value) it would need to be carried out in complete secrecy, unbeknownst to the subject and conducted double-blind. Once a subject knows he was studied or will / might be studied, it could have either a deterrent or inflammatory effect, depending on the subject’s personality inclinations, as you say. Even the knowledge such studies are carried out would surely effects all subjects to some degree, even if they are never tested … A self-conscious alteration, even if slight, is made to the brain that was not there before due to this new knowledge.
Mail (will not be published)
This site uses valid HTML and CSS. All content Copyright © 2010 Consulting by RPM