I think the title says it all. Doctors were able to get some vegetative state patients to answer yes or no to questions in a unique manner by what they put their attention on. The research involves a new brain scanning method.
When one can communicate effectively with people that no longer can move any muscle in their bodies then we are living in the realm of science fiction for real. Or another way to put it is that science fiction has now become science fact.
begin quote from above article:
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that scans can detect signs of awareness in patients thought to be closed off from the world.
Patients in a vegetative state are awake, not in a coma, but have no awareness because of severe brain damage.
The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which shows brain activity in real time.
They asked patients and healthy volunteers to imagine playing tennis while they were being scanned.
In each of the volunteers this stimulated activity in the pre-motor cortex, part of the brain which deals with movement. end quote.
Please read the whole article that I put at the top of this article if interested at the above internet address.
With this type of technology you will begin to see direct copies of human consciousness begin to arise within computer and robotic life forms. This will eventually lead to real "Bio-coms" like Silver has invented in my online book "2035" at:
note: 2-5-10 I started thinking about how one could actually duplicate human consciousness in a computer or robot. It would be an electronic echo so to speak much like when Alexander Graham Bell first spoke on a phone. The electronic echo would be much like the in between state of verbal sound and could be stored in the electronic sound right before it is converted back into real sound again. By taking the MRIs over days, weeks and months of doctors, nurses, scientists, writers and artists and electronically creating a proper interface within a computer you would have a rudimentary artificial human consciousness of one being or even many if that was your wish in the artificial consciousness you were creating. It could easily be done with today's technology. Once the basics have been converted or translated into zeros and 1s through binary conversion then the artificial intelligence could then learn like a child and grow and live much like a human if it was given an artificial body.
It would just be important to realize that this was a human echo of a specific personality. To a scientist it could be an electronic psychological clone of that scientist or engineer.
Or one could theoretically combine many talents into the same artificial being. However, I think a single being would have to be cloned in consciousness first before that was possible.
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