FAQ :: What is the Mind Machine Project?

Big Brother has developed a technique in which he thinks he can determine if an individual will commit a violent act by listening to his conversation and reading his emails.

Mathieu Guidere (University of Geneva) working with Dr. Newton Howard (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) who heads the Mind Machine Project explained that through computerized scanning of phone calls and electronic messages sent through e-mail and social networking mechanisms it is possible to identify someone who will commit a violent act.

“The computer system detects resentment in conversations through measurements in decibels and other voice biometrics,” he said. “It detects obsessiveness with the individual going back to the same topic over and over, measuring crescendos.”

The program can detect the same patterns of fixation on specified subjects in written communications. Using character traits that have been identified through psychological profiles conducted on lone bombers following the 911 terrorist attacks, Guidere said he and his colleagues developed programs that isolate signs pointing to a potential terrorist.

According to them lone bombers are not mentally deranged but harbor hatred and deep resentment toward government. Their emotional spikes and be identified by the computer program. Once the individual has been identified, the information can be passed along to authorities so surveillance can begin.

Currently, the computer program can review 10,000 voice or other electronic transmissions in an hour. The goal, the professor said, is to increase the capacity to 100,000 per hour. The program can also be used by psychologists and other mental health providers working with war veterans, law enforcement officials and others to measure their progress in recovery.

“By recording the voice of the patient, the program can rate negativity and positivity with depression and other emotional disorders,” said Guidere, who is working with, director of MIT’s Mind Machine Project. [1]

[1] Buffalo News. “Technology identifies troubled individuals.” 9.26.2010. www .buffalonews.com/city/article201702.ece.