AI can now read minds thanks to new brain decoder tool and it could change lives
Scientists have developed an AI 'brain decoder' which can 'read minds' by translating thoughts into text.
The tool is designed to help people with speech impediments or communication issues.
It scans and analyses users' brain activity to generate near-real time transcriptions of thoughts that, while not completely accurate, capture 'the gist' of what someone is thinking.
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Although the 'decoder' is still in its early stages, it could one day be used to record people's thoughts while they're dreaming as well as power 'significant' advances in brain-computer interfaces.
Dr Alexander Huth, the neuroscientist in charge of the research, 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 tool uses an early version of GPT AI to scan the brain's responses to 'ideas' and 'meaning'. Research participants had to spend 16 hours in a scanner listening to podcasts. The AI was able to closely match the text or intended meaning of the words around half the time.
Dr Huth explained this is because the system 'works at the level of ideas, semantics, meaning', and that "this is the reason why what we get out is not the exact words, it's the gist".
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The research team behind the AI brain decoder explain they have taken some steps to make sure the technology isn't misused.
Jerry Tang, a co-author of the research, said: "We take very seriously the concerns that it could be used for bad purposes and have worked to avoid that.
"We want to make sure people only use these types of technologies when they want to and that it helps them."
For example, it is possible to confuse or throw the system off by thinking of other things. In the study, participants were able to disrupt the machine by thinking of animals or coming up with different stories in their head.
The scientists behind the technology now want to use it to develop more portable brain-scanning systems and eventually use it to help people communicate or use computers with the power of thought alone.
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