Scientists read minds with artificial intelligence


Who doesn’t dream of being able to read minds? For us humans, that dream is a long way off, if technology will ever allow us to.

Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, is a different story. Scientists published a study on Nature.com on Monday that speaks of a breakthrough in the field of mind reading.

It is said to be the first time that continuous speech can be reconstructed non-invasively from human brain activity.

That means: A human thinks words and the AI ​​writes them down.

AI reads stories from our heads

The AI ​​decoder should be able to use the patterns of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to interpret the essence of stories that a human being see, hear or think.

Scientists hope soon Helping patients with neurological diseases to do this to be able to communicate clearly with those around them.

Research leader Jerry Tang, a graduate student in computer science at the University of Texas, explains that three human participants 16 hours each lay in an fMRI and had to listen to stories on Reddit.

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The AI ​​model they trained was supposedly GPT-1. This is the first version of the well-known Large Language Model GPT, on which Bing (GPT-4) and ChatGPT (GPT-3.5 / GPT-4) are also based.

This graphic compares the given sentences with those that the decoder has interpreted.






This graphic compares the given sentences with those that the decoder has interpreted.

Mind reading is easier than you think

After this phase of the experiment was completed, the participants’ brains were scanned in an fMRI while they listened to new stories. This time they were not part of the training data set.

The decoder was still able to translate the audio narration into text, although the interpretations often used different semantic constructions than the original recordings.

For example, a recording of a speaker saying the phrase “I don’t have a driver’s license yet” was decoded by the listener’s thoughts about the fMRI scanners into “She hasn’t even started learning to drive yet.”

The novel approach enabled the team to push the boundaries of Expand mind-reading technologies. For example, by examining whether the decoder could translate the participants’ thoughts while they were watching silent films, or if they were just making up stories in their heads.

In both cases the decoder was able to decipher what the participants were seeing in the case of the films and what the subjects were thinking as they acted out short stories in their imaginations.

light and dark

New, exciting technologies have always been misused for less pleasant purposes. Scientists are aware of that.

Because of this, they are outright warning about their own technology, claiming that brain-reading could find nefarious uses, such as as a means of government or employer surveillance.

Do you find this as exciting and exciting as we do? What would you do with such a technology that can actually (or at least sense) read minds? What is your chill factor when you think about the misuse of technology? As always, let us know your opinions and thoughts in the comments!

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