In what has been described as a step toward mind reading, scientists have discovered a technique to utilize brain scans and artificial intelligence (AI) modeling to transcribe the gist of what people are thinking. The language decoder’s primary purpose is to assist people who have lost their ability to communicate, but the device has prompted concerns about “mental privacy.”
To allay such anxieties, scientists conducted tests that demonstrated that their decoder could not be used on anyone who had not allowed it to be trained on their brain activity over long periods of time inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Previous study has demonstrated that a brain implant can allow patients who are unable to talk or type to spell words or sentences.
Alexander Huth, who serves as a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Austin and co-authored a new study, said that the language decoder of his team operates at a very different level.
According to the study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, it is the first system capable of reconstructing continuous language without the use of an invasive brain implant. The most relevant details in this book are the findings of a study conducted at Spain’s Granada University by Jerry Tang and David Rodriguez-Arias Vailhen.
According to the research, the decoder could “recover the gist of what the user was hearing,” such as when the participant heard the words “I don’t have my driver’s license yet.” The decoder struggled with personal pronouns like “I” and “she,” but even when the participants made up their own stories or watched silent movies, the decoder was able to understand the “gist.” The researchers anticipated such issues and conducted studies that demonstrated that the decoder failed to work on an individual if it was not already trained on their own specific brain activity.
The three people who took part may also easily fool the decoder by counting by sevens, naming and imagining animals, or telling a new scenario in their heads. The team intends to accelerate the process so that they can decode brain scans in real time, and they are calling for rules to preserve mental privacy.