Mind-Reading Made Possible by AI Decoders

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Unlocking the Power of the Mind: AI Decodes Brain Activity in Real Time

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a breakthrough AI-based decoder that can non-invasively translate brain activity into a continuous stream of text. For the first time, the decoder can reconstruct speech with uncanny accuracy while people listen to a story or even silently imagine one. This new technique uses fMRI scan data and provides a new way to restore speech in patients who struggle to communicate due to a stroke or motor neuron disease.

Dr. Alexander Huth, a neuroscientist who led the work, said, “We were kind of shocked that it works as well as it does. I’ve been working on this for 15 years … so it was shocking and exciting when it finally did work.” The breakthrough is considered significant because fMRI is usually used to map brain activity to a specific location, but it has a time lag, making it difficult to track activity in real-time.

The new method relies on the use of large language models, which represent the semantic meaning of speech in numbers. These models allowed the scientists to look at patterns of neuronal activity that corresponded to strings of words with a particular meaning. The achievement overcomes a fundamental limitation of fMRI which gives a “mishmash of information” spread over a few seconds.

The team hopes to assess whether the technique could be applied to other, more portable brain-imaging systems, such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). This significant advance could open up many experimental possibilities, such as reading thoughts from someone dreaming or investigating how new ideas spring up from background brain activity.

Stay tuned for more updates on AI’s impact on sustainability and the environment.

Source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/may/01/ai-makes-non-invasive-mind-reading-possible-by-turning-thoughts-into-text

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