A “telepathic” AI recreates photorealistic memories from a person's thoughts

The ever more evolved brain reading technology already creates photorealistic images from people's thoughts.

Gianluca Riccio

The researchers of the Radboud University published in the journal Nature (I'll link you to the article) a study that illustrates how one fMRI scanner can be used to read the thoughts in a person's mind. The machine is not invasive, that is, it does not enter the brain and does not damage it in any way. And in combination with artificial intelligence it produces incredible results.

How does?

Mind reading is the result of analyzing changes in blood flow in the brain. fMRI scans the brain for the neurons responsible for vision, then sends the data to a computer. The machine evaluates the information with the help of artificial intelligence and recomposes the image.

To teach the AI ​​to create these images from thoughts, the researchers placed an fMRI headset on a volunteer's head while he or she looked at a series of photos selected by the researchers. The AI ​​studied these thoughts and was then able to identify them when they asked the test subjects to imagine the people they had just seen in the photos. The reconstructed faces are very close to the imagined ones.

Image via Thirza Nut et al. – The “STIM” column in the image above shows the photos that were shown to the volunteer who underwent the tests. Columns one and two are the reconstructions produced by the AI.

A photo of your thoughts

The secret to obtaining such precise results, it seems, is not to show the person or the AI ​​photographs of real people. In contrast, the portraits were generated by computers and are composed of small dots that correspond to computer codes that the system must identify when the human subject thinks about the face. This allowed a better correspondence between thoughts and images, also allowing a better "calibration" of the instrument

Thirza Nut, author of the study, says this is just another step in training AI to read thoughts. Researchers aim to develop this technology to restore sight in people who have lost it due to disease or accidents.

And then, yes, other applications that are escaping us at the moment, maybe not all of them nice to hear.

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Alberto Robiati and Gianluca Riccio guide readers through scenarios of the future: the opportunities, risks and possibilities we have to create a possible tomorrow.