Carnegie Mellon University

"60 Minutes" Men

01-02-2009

"60 Minutes" Men

60minutesThe Jan. 4 episode of CBS News’ “60 Minutes" featured a report by Lesley Stahl on research by Tom Mitchell, chair of the Machine Learning Department, and Marcel Just, professor of psychology, on how the mind encodes the meaning of words. 

The report explored how machine learning and language technologies may someday make it possible to use brain scans to identify thoughts.

For a video of the report, see:  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4697682n

The report already has stirred discussion at the Huffington Post. The comments range from the critical — "This is sick!" — to the hopeful — "We could ... pinpoint certain thoughts and how they lead to various neuroses or depression, maybe even develop a better treatment for schizophrenia." Some are just comical — "We can finally get the truth out of O.J."

The work also was the subject of a front-page story in the Jan. 4 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Post-Gazette posted a video of reporter Mark Roth undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan and having his thoughts identified by the computer algorithm.

Pictured at right are (l-r)  Tom Mitchell, Lesley Stahl and Marcel Just.

Byron Spice