via The Economist:
For the moment, mind-reading is still science fiction. But that may not be true for much longer. Several lines of inquiry (see article) are converging on the idea that the neurological activity of the brain can be decoded directly, and people’s thoughts revealed without being spoken.
Just imagine the potential benefits. Such a development would allow both the fit and the disabled to operate machines merely by choosing what they want those machines to do. It would permit the profoundly handicapped—those paralysed by conditions such as motor-neuron disease and cerebral palsy—to communicate more easily than is now possible even with the text-based speech engines used by the likes of Stephen Hawking. It might unlock the mental prisons of people apparently in comas, who nevertheless show some signs of neural activity. For the able-bodied, it could allow workers to dictate documents silently to computers simply by thinking about what they want to say. The most profound implication, however, is that it would abolish the ability to lie.
Who could object to that? Thou shalt not bear false witness. Tell the truth, and shame the Devil. Transparency, management-speak for honesty, is put forward as the answer to most of today’s ills. But the truth of the matter—honestly—is that this would lead to disaster, for lying is at the heart of civilisation. (continue reading at The Economist, hat tip Marcus Wilder)
I don't believe anyone wants the rest of the world to read their every thought. Feelings would be hurt, secrets would be secret no more. I seem to remember episodes of the Twilight Zone where a man could suddenly read minds, it did not end well. I also remember an episode of the original Star Trek where alien minds had advanced to the point they no longer could speak verbally and communicates only by reading minds. Sounds like a terrible future. Remember, it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
As the above article states, "Information technology already means that physical privacy has become a scarce commodity. Websites track your interests and purchases. Mobile phones give away your location. Video cameras record what you are up to. Lose mental privacy as well, and there really will be nowhere to hide.". Not exactly mind reading, but a start in that direction.