Could a machine read my mind? Could it read my mind better I can? Could it find out what I really think, what I truly feel, and may not be aware of? It does not matter whether the machine scans my brain or analyses of my data, whether it is neuroscience or, as we say, Big Data. The point is: can a machine be an instrument of introspection?
Taking various examples from science and from fiction, I will argue that contemporary technologies do become instruments of introspection. They transform our form of life in Wittgenstein's sense. They transform the notions of interiority and exteriority and not only the content but the very meaning of what we call “mental”. In doing so, they give rise to misunderstandings and paradoxical situations. The syndrome of the thermometer is one.
Pierre Cassou-Noguès - Professor at the University of Paris 8 (Université Paris 8), France.