back to article First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

Scientists have discovered a way to show the neural activity that indicates the thought processes of a fish while hunting its prey. "Our work is the first to show brain activities in real time in an intact animal during that animal's natural behavior," said Koichi Kawakami of Japan's National Institute of Genetics in a statement …

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Anonymous Coward

This entire field of technology terrifies me. The realisation that at some point it may be possible to scan the brains of humans and prosecute their possible intent will be the first step along a dark and terrifying path.

If any one technology must be stopped it is the ability to see into the persons mind - simply because it opens up to many avenues to create a "perfect" society where those whose brains don't comply can be easily identified and where everyone is compelled to comply to a "socially defined" "norm"

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Big Brother

Careful there citizen

We knew you were thinking that.

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Anonymous Coward

Job interview of the future....

HR:

Scans from your last interview showed that you are not a team player. We are sorry you are not the kind of person we are looking for.

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I'm not so worried

The activity of the brain is more than just electrical impulses. There's so much going on in there that can't be measured externally.

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"If any one technology must be stopped it is the ability to see into the persons mind - simply because it opens up to many avenues to create a "perfect" society where those whose brains don't comply can be easily identified and where everyone is compelled to comply to a "socially defined" "norm"

Apart from offering a tin-foil hat we are led to believe that there is already some geezer(?) who looks in to out heads and knows what's going in there -- and it ain't Derren Brown, either.

More worrying for some is the work on DNA to 'improve' humans, that'll be here long before some machine starts doing a 'Doris'. (collective noun for 'psychic').

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Black Helicopters

"scan the brains of humans and prosecute their possible intent"

Read "The Anarchistic Colussus", by AE van Vogt. If I remember correctly, humanity was being controlled by aliens using exactly that sort of equipment to sense "auras".

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Big Brother

"prosecute their possible intent"

The problem with calculating probable outcomes is there's always a chance that the outcome will not happen as predicted.

In a society with advanced enough technology to calculate the probable intent of a human with anything over 50% accuracy, I would hope that there is also enough knowledge to see obvious issues with prosecuting individuals based on predictions of possible future actions or thoughts.

My guess is that, just as this article states, it would be used for more effective treatment of the mentally ill.

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Thumb Up

"I'll be your interviewer today...

...my formal name is Grey Area, but my 'friends' call me MeatFucker."

(Iain M Banks reference, natch)

Steven R

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Thumb Up

Re: Sorry that handle is already taken. Bronze badge

I must agree! While it does require, and they are a large part of, electrical currents and synapse firing, how does this cope with hormones and other effects? What about the chemicals that block or slow down? Can these effects be derived from the scans alone? I seriously doubt it.

But it's a great start and something to learn about and from.

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Re: Sorry that handle is already taken. Bronze badge

"But it's a great start and something to learn about and from."

That's the wonderful thing about evolution, one of the things we will learn in the long run is how to train our brains to mislead such things if it is used against us. They won't know if we're thinking of petting cute puppies or the slow satisfying squeeze just before dropping the ham... awww I love those cute kitties on UTooB.

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Re: I'm not so worried

Can't be measured yet. It's only a limit of technology - there's nothing magical going on.

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Re: Job interview of the future....

HR::

Scans from your last interview indicate that you are a carrot. Welcome to HR.

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"we are led to believe that there is already some geezer(?) who looks in to out heads and knows what's going in there -- and it ain't Derren Brown, either."

Santa!

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Never dear; the right chemical will make you forget what we want you to.

For real. Nondisclosure? Do we look like idiots? Drink this... hold him down, Adams.

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Devil

If any one technology must be stopped it is the ability to see into the persons mind - simply because it opens up to many avenues to create a "perfect" society where those whose brains don't comply can be easily identified and where everyone is compelled to comply to a "socially defined" "norm"

I think I can say with absolute certainty that if this brain scanning for illegal activity happens every f**ker in the entire world is going to jail.

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Re: "prosecute their possible intent"

At best, it will turn out like weather forecasting.

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Big Brother

Wow, we really are getting to the point.....

Where you can get sent to re-education for thinking "Down with Big Brother! Down with Big Brother!!".

On the lighter side, if (when) they scan my mind around noon, my neural activity will probably be screaming out "food!".

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Mushroom

Grocer's

I wonder if a scan would show up the thinking that causes a grocer's apostrophe to appear in a headline

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Headmaster

Re: Grocer's

That was my thought on reading the headline as well, but it's not necessarily a misplaced apostrophe if we read the line as:

"A scientist's snap is the first video inside a thinking fish's brain"

In which case it becomes an apostrophe of possession (the scientist's snap, where "snap" is a noun, not a verb) and would pass. I realise this interpretation is a bit of a stretch, but an astute journalist could use it as a valid defence!

Or they could just fix it. El Reg?

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I thought it was well known what pets think...?

Dogs: "These people feed me, they must be gods"

Cats: "These people feed me, I must be a god"

Fish: "OMG THERE IS FOOD! FALLING! FROM! THE! SKY!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I thought it was well known what pets think...?

Fish! work! for! Yahoo!

Who! knew!?

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WTF?

"...paramecium the size of a grain of rice"

That's a hell of a large paramecium! I thought they were single-celled organisms, only visible with a microscope.

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Re: "...paramecium the size of a grain of rice"

Well, the are rice-shaped, but only 0.35 mm long at most.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "...paramecium the size of a grain of rice"

Wow! indeed....

But perhaps the reference was to some Genetically Optimized Slimming Diet Rice....

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Re: "...paramecium the size of a grain of rice"

so praps the fish was thinking

"fuck me! look at the size of that, i'd better get out of here"

i guess we'll never really know

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Alert

Re: "...paramecium the size of a grain of rice"

Not very rice-shaped, the rice I eat doesn't have an oral groove. A 4mm paramecium is the the stuff of nightmares.

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Pint

Apogee did this years ago

Fish thought patterns are "Swim. Swim. Hungry" and eat anything alive and moving near them, though they prefer heroes.

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Meh

Frightening stuff.

If you have a transparent skull and have had your genes suitably interfered with.

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Holmes

I'd like to see any indication that these are 'thought' about 'food'...

Rather that. say visual cortex neurons firing in response to a dot moving horizontally on a light background, for example.

Do the patterns fail to appear when, for example a verical line is moved across the visual field? One that doesn't look anything like a paramecium?

I'll wait to see the peer-reviewed paper. Until then, the headline looks rather sensationalist.

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Re: I'd like to see any indication that these are 'thought' about 'food'...

Erm it has been peer reviewed.

People are slightly missing the point with this - the importance of this is that you can visualise in real time the calcium influx of neurones and thus their activity to an exogenous stimuli. It's kind of irrelevant what the stimulus is (and im pretty sure that is a paramecium) but I agree the headline that we can now tell what this fish is thinking is rubbish

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Paris Hilton

SEX! Seagoing slitherer salaciously seeks

There. That covers the rest of the thinking process.

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new psychiatric medications

I'll give you a prediction. In 4 years not having a job, or not enjoying your job, will be a condition in the DSM, and you MUST take the drugs that "fix" it. New jobs in 4 years time will be: ditch digging, ditch filling, and also some people will be needed to man the internment camps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: new psychiatric medications - it's not all bad

re. the 'new DSM' blather, every blade can be turned against oneself, 'tis true, but I guess psychiatry & psychiatric medications haven't played a significant part in your life because they haven't been necessary. You are lucky, and that let's you see and represent treatment for mental illness through the "over the cuckoo's nest" lens.

Mental illness is just another type of illness, pschiatrists are just specialist doctors, that's all it comes down to.

The former can be weird or scary, or even funny, for 'normal' people, the latter are just don't have much insight or treatment into those who with problems because, well, we *don't understand the brain*.

I repeat, you're lucky. If it wasn't for prozac I'd likely not be here. Believe me death would have been an improvement on what I had. But believe me again, prozac took away (the worst of) the utter hell I'd carried around for as long as I remember and swapped in some most interesting side effects. The unmanageably dangerous rage I could have done without, ditto the days when the anger would turn inwards and my head would be full of a dozen inarticulate howling voices - tough coping with that. But everything in the world became alive, even plants, even images (was that psychosis?) it like being in a spirit world, that was truly magical and I miss that hugely - except those days when so many of those things were in pain. Feeling the pain & greyness in everything around you. Not such good magic.

I was not well. I had never been well.

At least we're taking the very first steps towards less clumsy medication and I surely welcome our transparent & black & white paramecium pondering overlords with sparky little neurons lighting the way.

(If you'll excuse me I'll post AC. It's not that I have any problems with people knowing this, and anybody who's met me soon says "hmm, there's something odd with this one", and it's never troubled me or them, it's just a matter of not linking my handle back to my real identity).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: new psychiatric medications - it's not all bad

^^^ This.

I've had similar experiences. And the fact that I feel it necessary to post as AC regarding having an illness speaks volumes about the wretched prejudice that's still pervasive.

I heard a line in a movie which I quite liked - "People who don't care about money almost always have it". Something similar goes for mental illness - the people who are the most vocal about how terrible psychiatry and medicine are are the ones who have never suffered from depression, schizophrenia, etc.

People think that depression is 'bad sadness' - in the same way that a regular cake is a big cupcake, or so. I suspect this may have something to do with the wretched antidepressant ads showing depression as a despondent cute little bouncing ball, or someone who's looking morose while potting plants. To hell with that shit. You want to show depression? Show someone crying uncontrollably, curled up in the corner and pounding the walls with their fists because every moment is a writhing, hateful, crushing nightmare, like breathing molten plastic. Show someone dead-eyed, broken, uncaring; show someone's family hopeless and children confused and guilty and sad.

You want to show depression in your commercial? Show that. That's depression - not your damn little cute ball that can't jump over a hole, or someone who's mildly upset because she doesn't have the energy to cavort in a meadow.

Depression is not bad-sadness. It is off the axis of any emotion you can imagine unless you've experienced it - like color to the blind.

Antidepressants saved my life. That I can't say so without risking my reputation, job, or business is disgraceful; that people like the OP here are doing their best to subvert what progress has been made with their arrogant, ignorant conspiracy lunacy is tragic.

And to the OP - despite all of that, I hope you are fortunate enough to never understand. It's a fate I couldn't wish on anyone.

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Re: new psychiatric medications - it's not all bad

As a sufferer from depression myself.. I can't see this helping me when I found that I had been staring at a blank wall for twenty mins. or so, honestly there were times when I swear I had no detectable brain impulses, I'm better now though wibble wibble. Hope this could be of use in testing treatments for mental illness. It would be very interesting to see the changes ongoing after medications were taken, the trouble being having a large enough data sample to say what is normal brain activity for the majority of people.

Three plus years of meds, and finally off them!

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Re: new psychiatric medications - it's not all bad

agreed, to a certain extent, but ECT and most (particularly older) anti-psychotics are barbaric.

true less barbaric than the conditions they treat/mask, but barbaric nonetheless.

in the mean time anything that drags psychiatry kicking and screaming into the realm of proper science will be welcome.

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Re: new psychiatric medications - it's not all bad

Sadly yes this is a country where you better not mention your mental illness to anyone if you want to keep your job.

And the attitude to drugs (other than tobacco or alcohol) is poor in general. You tell people you do SSRIs and you get the same reaction as if you told them you do cannabis which again is the same reaction you'd get from saying you do crack cocaine.

The government has set up a framework for the masses to interpret drugs its taken very effectively to the collective unconscious despite its foundation in complete bullshit.

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Happy

Perhaps so, but that is a most pessimistic view, and in any case far away from being an application of the present technique. What's more important is that we might gain a little more insight into how the brain works, a subject that has been all but impenetrable to us. Aside from being endlessly fascinating and awe-inspiring (which is as good a reason as any to learn about a thing), eventually a better understanding of the brain will almost certainly bring with it a multitude of benefits, in fields as diverse as computing and medicine.

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mdc

Dopefish.

Swim swim hungry swim.

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Coat

'FOOD!', piscine predator ponders purposefully

Shorely you meant 'PROVENDER!'

Mine's the one with chips also in the pocket.

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Trollface

Re: 'FOOD!', piscine predator ponders purposefully

I was going for "PREY!" or "PROVISIONS!"

Mine's the one with chips also in the pocket.

Shirley you mean Potatoes

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Coat

[ Spaceship-dwelling, jive-talking, bipedal cat approaches food dispensing station ]

<cat> Fish!

(food appears)

<cat> Fish!

(food appears)

<cat> Fish!

(food appears)

<cat> Fish!

(food appears)

<cat> OOowwww! Yeah!

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Coat

"I'm going to eat you little fishy...'cos I like eating fish"

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Shiny thing!

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Anonymous Coward

All six of my nipples are tingling!

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Trollface

Oooh... It's a little bit like

Dangling a beard trimmer and a pair of sandals before a Unix kernel developer!

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A lightbulb moment!

pity it turned on inside the little chap's head instead of floating above it in a cartoony manner.

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Anonymous Coward

Film version

Eat Pray Swim

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Holmes

Reminds me of a dead salmon...

From http://boingboing.net/2012/10/02/what-a-dead-fish-can-teach-you.html

In 2009, a team led by neuroscientist Craig Bennett and psychologist Abigail Baird ran an fMRI experiment using the salmon as their subject. Not only did they really put a dead (and frozen) fish into an fMRI machine, later analysis of their data actually produced evidence of brain activity — as if the dead fish were thinking.

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Keep this away from me.

What if I'm having impure thoughts round the office?

Keep out of my mind!!!!

Mmmm, boobs.

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