Scientists at Northwestern University asked participants to think up a mock terrorist scheme. The subjects obligingly wrote down their plans, including all the details they could think of while surely wondering if this was all just some elaborate Patriot Act entrapment. They showed the plans to nobody until the experiment was over. The participants were then hooked up to brain scanners that measured a wave called P300, which, amongst other things, is sometimes associated with feelings of guilt and secrecy. As they scanned their EEGs, researchers showed the volunteers several names of major cities and, astoundingly, they could pinpoint which city the participant had planned on attacking -- as well as a few other key details like weapon of choice -- with 83 percent accuracy.
And that's from a cold scan: If the researchers had a few basic details of the terrorist's plan in advance -- stuff that the government already picks up from radio or email chatter -- they were able to bump that figure up to 100 percent. Absolute certainty.
Taping wires to your hair is just a formality.
Those are downright sci-fi levels of future prediction. And though the process comes with some caveats right now -- you'd basically have to catch the terrorist first to find out if you should've bothered catching them -- we're just a whittling machine and an elfin protagonist away from making Minority Report a reality.