Portable MRI Scans For Psychopathy Like Voight-Kampff

Dr. Kent Diehl has been using portable MRI technology in association with provocative images to scan prison inmates for signs of psychopathy. SF readers may think that Dr. Diehl is on the track of creating something like Philip K. Dick's Voight-Kampff empathy test from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

Writer John Seabrook writes about his experience in being tested for possible psychopathy - a severe emotional detachment, a complete lack of empathy or remorse - in a recent issue of The New Yorker:

One morning while I was in New Mexico, Kent Kiehl arranged for me to have my brain scanned. I reported to the Mind Research Network, and put on a hospital gown. I was going to perform the visual task—rate a series of images as “morally offensive,” on a scale of zero to five.

I climbed onto the gurney, and a technician fitted me with a helmet that had a built-in viewer, and then slowly slid me into the coffin-like scanning tube. I fought a momentary sense of panic. In my right hand I held a push-button device that I would use to rate the offensiveness of the pictures. An iris scan, which was trained on my right eye, would record which part of the picture I was looking at when I made my judgments. The soothing voice of the MRI technician, heard over a speaker in the helmet, guided me. Carla Harenski, who was the lead designer of the task, was overseeing the procedure from the next room.

The fMRI machine started up with a high-pitched whirring sound. I began to see photographs...

This procedure lines up almost exactly with Philip K. Dick's description of the Voight-Kampff empathy test used in his 1968 novel. The main character, Rick Deckard, is tasked with finding a group of Nexus-8 androids; before "retiring" a suspect, he must verify that they are not human by demonstrating their lack of normal empathy.

The small beam of white light shone steadily into the left eye of Rachael Rosen, and against her cheek the wire-mesh disk adhered. She seemed calm.

Seated where he could catch the readings on the two gauges of the Voight-Kampff testing apparatus, Rick Deckard said "I'm going to outline a number of social situations. You are to express your reaction to each as quickly as possible. You will be timed, of course."

"And of course," Rachel said distantly, "my verbal responses won't count. It's solely the eye muscle and capillary reactions that you'll use as indicies...

Rick, selecting question three, said "You are given a calf-skin wallet on your birthday." Both gauges immediately registered past the green and into the red. The needles swung violently and then subsided...

Here's a look at the Voight-Kampff apparatus as it was visualized in Ridley Scott's 1982 movie Blade Runner, which was based on Dick's novel.


(Voight-Kampff machine depicted in Blade Runner movie)

Read Seabrook's very detailed and readable article in The New Yorker; via CTLab via our friends at frolix_8.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/5/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Index of related articles:

Biometric security overview
Biometrics Glossary
Characteristics of successful biometric identification methods
Biometric identification systems
Biometric technology on the leading edge
Biometric identification - advantages
Biometric security and business ethics
Biometric authentication: what method works best?
Iris Recognition
Iris Scan

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.' - James Blish, 1957.

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Rise Of Skywalker Could Trigger Epileptic Seizures
'... then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while.' - John Varley, 1984.

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'

Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'

Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.