Showing posts with label Brain Scanning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brain Scanning. Show all posts

December 14, 2007

Architecting Politics With Mind Reading

Enterprise architecture is good when it help the organization improve mission execution and achieve desired results of operation. However, what happens when it is used to influence politics and elections, such as through the application of brain scanning technology to get votes?

The Wall Street Journal, 14 December 2007 reports that neuroscience and mind reading is being used for “monitoring voters’ brains, pupils and pulses, [and] may be more effective than listening to what they have to say.”

How is this monitoring taking place?

Technology is being applied to support the information requirements of the mission, which in this case is to see what provokes positive images and voting tendencies from candidates to the populace. For example, recently, “volunteers watched the debate while wearing electrode-studded headsets that track electrical activity in the brain.”

How widespread is this?

Neuromarketing firms across the country are pitching their services to presidential campaigns.” One example is “a biofeedback program that tracks brain waves, pupil dilation, perspiration, and facial-muscle movements.”

One Stanford political scientist, who works with the American National Election Studies, that “we need a tricky way to get into people’s minds and find out who they’re going to vote for instead of asking directly.” Another research director stated, “traditional methods of polling voters are sometimes inaccurate — ‘people may say one thing in a focus group and do another thing in the voting booth.’”

How long has this been going on?

“In the 1980s, focus groups became popular, as did ‘dial groups’ where participants register their reactions to candidates with electronic dials. The most cited innovation in 2004 was microtargeting, a strategy borrowed from corporate marketing firms that involves tailoring specific messages to individual households based on their consumer profiles…in recent years, advances in brain scanning technology have allowed researchers to identify areas of the brain involved in political beliefs.”

The neuroethics program director at the University of Pennsylvania stated that “taken to its logical limit, it’s a kind of mind reading." While a democratic strategist stated that “the wide adoption of these techniques is inevitable.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, one has to wonder whether this type of “mind reading” and architecting of politics using the latest in brain scanning technologies is really appropriate. Why are we “tailoring the message" to voters, based on the technical scanning of their brains, instead of being honest and forthright about political means and ends. Perhaps, we are getting to slick with the technology and applying it a little too liberally to an area that should be quite personal and important – people’s politics and voting behaviors.