We tend to think that the memories are something private and intimate (perhaps one of the most private and intimate things that exist) but what if we could ‘read’ memories and thoughts in your mind and write or draw on a computer? It is not such a radical idea as it seems. Neuroimaging techniques (able to “see” what happens inside the brain) evolve every day.
In fact, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, machine learning and a small group of volunteers, a team of US researchers has managed to get very close to the old idea of reading someone’s thoughts. The last redoubt of human privacy over?
Your face seems familiar to me
In the first phase of the experiment, the researchers presented hundreds of different faces 23 people while they were in a functional magnetic resonance imaging, a device that can detect changes in blood flow in the brain (and, thanks to that, study the neural activity). The idea was to use machine learning to relate various parameters of the faces (from skin color to the shape of the eyelids) with patterns of brain activation of participants.
In the second part of the experiment, the researchers presented new participants faces. In this case, the system could only see the data of magnetic resonance and make guesses about them to find out how he was the face that people were watching.
Although psychologists and neuroscientists often refer to thoughts, memories and dreams as ‘private event’, actually they are not. All these psychological phenomena are the most obvious showing never stop interacting with the world around us; and it is this relationship (outside and inside the skin) we have been able to visualize now.
In the images above, we can see some results of the experiment: the original photo, the reconstruction based on the ‘visual processing area’ of the brain and reconstruction based on the ‘area of visual memories’. The first five columns are the most accurate reconstructions and the last two less accurate.
The researchers also tested the system to examine what would happen if the participants only remembered the pictures (instead of them). In this case (the pictures on the right), the results were far worse, not least because, as is logical, researchers could only use the activation patterns of the ‘area of memory’.
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At first glance, the pictures can be somewhat disappointing. Horrifying, even. But although reconstructions not seem too original photos, researchers have demonstrated that from them, we can identify some traits such as sex, emotional state or skin color. Come on, photos and reconstructions are given an air.
A long way to go
But one air limited are not likely to replace the artist of portraits robots soon or if. Because, for now, we do not need to generate a picture perfect memories. The question that is being investigated right now is whether the information in the brain patterns allows the computer system to reliably select a picture of a bank photographs. Although we, at first, could not.
To achieve this, we would be taking a giant step in our understanding of the human brain. However, there is no doubt that we are in a very initial step .More than 23 people and more than a small group of faces to find out to what extent the “mind reading” possible would be needed. As the same Brice Kuhl, one of the authors of the study, he explained “there is still much to do ‘. Visit http://gamesplanet.org/for more reviews.